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resources on the dangers of poison.
Disclaimer - Information is designed for
educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical
advice or professional services. Any medical decisions should be made
in conjunction with your physician. We will not be liable for any
complications, injuries or other medical accidents arising from or in
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Children Act Fast...So Do
Poison Control Center
Nationwide hotline - 800.222.1222
California - 800.8POISON (76-4766) - 24 hour crisis line
Outside California - www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm
Or Check Front of Yellow Pages for Poison Control Numbers
Or call 911
Who Gets Poisoned
Simple things you can do now to protect your
kids from poisons
Protect Yourself from Breathing Household
Sitter's Guide to Prevention
What is Syrup of Ipecac?
Poison Prevention Week - Mar 20-26, 2005
Emergency Action for Poisoning
First steps after an accidental exposure -
Remain Calm. For Unconscious
patients, Convulsions, or any
call 911. Otherwise call the Poison
Control Center located in the front of your yellow pages. Information
the Poison Center Specialist Will Need:
- Age and Weight of the person.
- What was ingested. Have the bottle or container with you.
- How Much was taken. This will help the Poison Center
Specialist determine the severity of the incident.
- Time of the poisoning
- How the victim is looking, feeling and acting right now.
- Your Name and Phone number.
Always call, even if you are not sure. Better to be
Warning signs of a breathing
- trouble breathing (This often happens right after breathing a
chemical, but sometimes it can be hours later.)
- chest pain/burning
- dry throat
- runny nose
- sore throat
- wheezing/asthma attack
- Inhaled - Immediately get patient to fresh air. Avoid
breathing fumes. Open doors and windows. If victim is not
breathing, call for help and start assisted (mouth-to-mouth)
breathing. (See Inhalants.)
- Eye - Flood the eye with lukewarm water Repeat for 15 minutes.
Encourage patient to blink while flushing the eye. Do not force
the eyelid open.
- Swallowed Medicine - Do not give anything by mouth until
calling for advice
- Chemical or Household Products - Unless patient is
unconscious, having convulsions, or cannot swallow - give a small
amount of water. Then call for professional advice to find out if
patient should be made to vomit. Do Not induce vomiting
unless recommended by your physician or the Poison Center.
- Skin - Remove contaminated clothing and flood skin with water
for 15 minutes. Then wash gently with soap and water and
Poison Control Centers
Poison control centers help millions of people each year,
ensuring that poisonings are treated rapidly and correctly. They
managed more than 2 million cases in 1996, about 75% of these cases
were managed at home over the phone with the help of specialists
trained in poison information. Things to remember:
- Always keep the telephone number of the local poison control
center on or near each of your telephones. You may have a "special
place" for it, but visitors, relatives and sitters need to know,
- Locate that phone number right now -
Click here: www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm
Or Check Front of Yellow Pages for Poison Control Numbers or dial
911. They are located in all fifth states plus Australia,
Brazil, Canada and New Zealand.
and the website is in 12 different
languages: Arabic, Cambodian, Chinese, English, Hmong,
Korean, Laotian, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Tigrinya, and
- If you suspect someone has been poisoned, call your local
poison control center right away. Do not wait for the person to
look or feel sick. The poison control center should be your first
source of information in an emergency, even before a doctor or
- Feel free to call the poison control center anytime with
questions or for advice about preventing a poisoning. They welcome
non emergency calls and the opportunity to help you keep your
family safe from poisonings. Many centers will send you a magnet
or sticker with their phone number.
- Keep a bottle of syrup of Ipecac in your home. Use it only
when told to do so by the poison control center. Put it on your
shopping list NOW!
Who gets poisoned
Poisonings happen every day. In 1996 alone, about 5 million poisoning
exposures occurred and each year, nearly 900,000 visits to the
emergency room occur because of poisonings. Most poisonings happen in
the home (91%) and involve children under the age of six (53%). Among
children under 12, poisonings are slightly more common among boys
with very few cases classified as suicide. Among adolescents, more
than half of poison exposures involve girls, and about half of all
poison exposures among teens are classified as suicide attempts. It
is important to be aware of the different risks affecting your
children at different ages and stages of development.
- Babies and toddlers. Because of their limited motor skills and
the close supervision they receive from parents, young infants
have less of a risk of poisoning than their older siblings. But
when children are about to celebrate their first birthday, they
become mobile enough to open cabinets under sinks and reach
objects on counter tops, and they can often open unsecured caps,
bring containers to their mouths, and grasp and ingest small
objects such as pills. Babies and toddlers are curious and love to
put things into their mouths, but they don't know what's poisonous
and what's safe to eat.
- Preschoolers. Like toddlers, preschoolers aren't aware of the
danger of poisoning, and they are likely to spend increasing
amounts of time out of their parents' line of sight and
supervision. Various factors--such as motor skills, cognitive
ability, and temperament--place some children at a greater risk of
poisoning than others.
- School-age children. These children are beginning to develop
the ability to recognize danger and to develop self-control, so
they are at less of a risk of unintentional poisoning than are
younger kids. With this group of children, however, inadequate
supervision when the child must take medications can lead to an
- Adolescents. Suicide attempts--by intentionally taking an
overdose of medication-- are a risk factor among teenagers, with
girls being more likely than boys to take an overdose of pills.
Unintentional overdoses are also a risk, because of peer pressure
to take drugs, easy access to drugs, and many teens' natural
inclination to take risks.
- In the community, factors such as access to drugs can increase
a adolescent's risk of death from poisoning. Communities must be
on the look out for children at risk for substance abuse or
suicide to ensure that they receive early intervention and
counseling that could save their lives. (See Teenagers
and Inhalants below.)
Simple things you can do now to protect your kids
- Post the number. Get the phone number for your poison
control center, and post it in a place where family members and
sitters can find it in an emergency. Tape it to the telephone,
post it on the refrigerator, or tack it to the bulletin board.
Call the center now to receive helpful advice. Some centers even
have phone stickers or magnets displaying this important phone
number. If you don't know the number, click
here for a directory of numbers for centers across the United
States. Fast access to this number could save your child's
- Do the flush. Search the medicine cabinets, bathrooms,
the kitchen, the garage, and other rooms of your home to find
nonessential household products as well as any unusual,
unnecessary, or expired drugs you've been meaning to toss out. For
example, flush down the toilet those painkillers your doctor
prescribed three years ago. For some medicines, even one
adult-strength pill can be deadly to a child. Vitamin overdoses
can also be serious. Rid your home of these nonessentials right
now. Rinse the containers thoroughly. Because most unintentional
poisonings involve children younger than two years, childproof
your home and supervise your kids closely. Keep medicines,
household cleaners and chemicals out of their reach and in locked
cabinets. Store products in their proper containers so the
directions and warnings apply to the contents. Ask for safety caps
on all drugs. Select products in child resistant containers.
Return products to safe storage immediately after use. Dispose of
potential poisons (such as cleaners or medicine) when they are no
longer needed. Some materials such as crystal or granular drain
cleaners are so highly toxic that parents of small children should
avoid keeping them in the home at all. Use devices such as safety
latches or locked cabinets to prevent child access, even if the
products inside the cabinet are in child resistant containers. In
giving medicine, always measure does - don't guess. Never tell
children that medicine is candy. Never take medicine in front of
children. They often imitate adults. Store products away from
food. And, don't turn you back on a child when a product is within
reach, if the phone or doorbell rings, take the child or the
product with you.
- Do the Crawl. Get down on your hands and knees and
crawl every place your children go, including inside your closets,
so that you can see every nook and cranny from their point of
view. You'll be surprised what you may find--that free sample of
dishwashing detergent that rolled under the kitchen hutch,
Grandma's heart pills stuck between the sofa cushions, and the old
jug of drain cleaner lurking in your bathroom closet. Check your
entire home regularly to make sure that all poisons are not just
out of sight and out of reach (kids can open doors and climb on
counters), but secured well in a cabinet with a lock or safety
Protect yourself from breathing household
1. Never mix products together unless the product instructions state
it is safe to do so. Mixing household cleaners can create poison gas.
Examples Mixing together chlorine bleach or chlorine cleansers with
ammonia. Mixing together chlorine products with shower tile cleaner,
toilet bowl cleaner or any type of acid. Completely rinse off the
first product before applying a second product.
2. Never sniff containers to discover what is inside. Breathing
chemical fumes or sprays can hurt you. Thousands of people are
poisoned each year by the incorrect use of products found in the
house, basement, garage and garden. Many of these products can also
irritate the skin and eyes and some can go through the skin into the
body. Breathing too much of these is dangerous:
- carburetor cleaner
- drain cleaner
- furniture polish
- hair permanent and straightener
- nail glue and polish remover
- oven cleaner
- opaquing (correction) fluid
- paint solvent, thinner, and stripper
- photographic and copying chemical
- pool acid and chlorine
- silver and other metal polishes
- waterproofing sprays
3. Using pesticides in the wrong way: Misuse or overuse of bug
sprays or other pesticides can expose you to harmful chemicals. It is
very important to carefully read and follow the directions on the
label. An insecticide fogger (or "bomb") can be a special problem. It
comes in an aerosol can which releases its spray for several hours.
As soon as a fogger is set off, everyone should leave. Take pets (and
fish tanks) with you. The exact amount of time to stay out is usually
on the label-it can be up to 12 hours or more. Upon reentering, open
windows immediately to air out the house. Do Not use the
fogger as a hand held spray.
4. Read labels and follow directions carefully.
- Turn on fans and open windows wide when using products.
- Limit the amount of time you are using products that give off
- Wear gloves and clothing to protect your skin.
- More isn't always better. Use no more than you need to do a
- Never bring products home from work. They are usually stronger
and more poisonous, and are not intended for home use.
- Thoroughly clean any area after using anything that may be
- Before using a spray, be sure that the nozzle is pointed away
- Tightly close containers after use to prevent release of
- Keep all household products in their original labeled
containers. Never reuse product containers for anything else.
- Never sniff containers to discover what is inside.
- Completely rinse off the first product before applying a
5. Know the names of all your plants and which ones are
- Keep all plants out of the reach of small children.
- Teach children not to put any part of plants in their
Packaging and Storage
- Always store medication and household products in original
packaging and locked away out of the reach and sight of
- Buy medicine and household products in child-resistant
- Never put inedible products in food or drink containers.
- Do not remove child-safety caps from medicines and vitamins.
Always make sure that caps are on tight.
Signs & Symptoms of Someone Who Has
Used an Inhalant
How to tell if someone you know is using inhalants:
- a red or runny nose
- sores or a rash around the nose and mouth
- a chronic cough and/or shortness of breath
- nausea, vomiting and severe headaches
- sudden memory loss or lack of concentration
- hallucinations or blacking out
- a chemical smell on breath or clothes
- paint stains on clothing, towels and/or skin
- soda, cans, rags or sandwich bags with a chemical odor
- slurred speech, hearing loss, diminished sense of smell and/or
- red, irritated eyes
- sudden weight loss
- extreme mood swings.
How To Help: In an emergency, a
few simple steps can save a life:
- don't leave the person alone
- call 911 immediately
- for additional treatment instructions, call Poison Control
(check you local phone book now and write down the number, or call
- don't startle or excite anyone under the influence of
inhalants. They may experience hallucinations or increased
aggression and shock or over stimulation can trigger cardiac
- provide adequate ventilation
Inhalant Info: Don't
wait - if you or someone you know needs help, talk to parents,
teachers, or a doctor. The following organizations offer counseling
referrals, free brochures and more:
- American Association of Poison Control Centers - A 24/7
poison hotline 800.222.1222. Also,
- American Council for Drug Education, 800.488.DRUG
- Eden Children and Family Services, 612.338.2158
- National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug
Information, 800.729.6686 www.health.org
- National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing
- National Inhalant Prevention Coalition, 800.269.4237
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, www.cpsc.gov
If you would never consider playing Russian roulette with a bullet
in every chamber, don't play it with inhalants. And, if you're a
parent, wake-up! Talk to your children about the dangers
and side effects and lock up toxic household products that can be
used as an inhalant. Don't put it off. This is one talk you don't
want to wait on. You might be a day too late. Just do it!
Make sure that older care givers - grandparents, for example, do not
leave their prescription medication s within a child's easy reach.
For instance, Grandma should never leave her heart medication in her
purse, which is on the kitchen table and within the reach of her
toddler grandson. This is an all-too-common scenario that can have
- Do you use any prescription or over-the counter medicines? Did
you know that one third of the poisonings reported among children
under age six are from prescription drugs commonly used by older
adults high blood pressure pills, heart medicines etc.)? In fact,
many childhood poisoning deaths result from eating grandparents
medications. This happens at both the childs home and the
- Do you leave medicines out on your bedside table?
- Do you leave the tops off of the bottles?
- Do you avoid using child resistant caps? Use them!
- Do you carry your medicines in your purse or pockets (popular
places for little ones to explore)?
- If the answer is yes to any of the above, your grandchild may
be in danger. Please consider these suggestions:
- Take medicines out of the container only when using them.
- Use child resistant caps whenever possible. Ask the pharmacist
to open and close the cap several times before giving it to you.
This will help for later openings.
- Keep your medicine out of reach, out of sight, and locked
- Protect your grandchildren from toxic household products and
plants. Child proof your home.
- Purchase Syrup of Ipecac (a substance that causes vomiting)
from your local pharmacy. Keep it locked up like any medicine, but
use it only if advised to do so by the Poison Center.
- Never call medicine, "candy".
Remember that child resistant does not mean child proof, but it
does help prevent many poisonings. However, even with precautions,
poisonings sometimes happen. You can then call for help from the 24
hour free hotline at the Poison Center at 1-800-876-4766 or TTY
1-800-972-3323 (for speech and hearing impaired only).
Sitter's Guide to Poison Prevention
- Know where the children are at all times and what they are
doing; if they are very quiet, check on them immediately.
- Anticipate the child's curiosity and abilities according to
age and developmental skills.
- Make sure counters in kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms are
free of possible poisons.
- Don't let the child get hungry. He or she is more likely to
try to find something to eat and may choose the wrong thing.
- Be alert for a repeat poisoning. A child who has swallowed a
poison is more likely to become poisoned again within a year.
- Do not leave your purse, handbag or backpack where a child can
reach it. Store in a safe place. Cosmetics, perfumes, medications,
and vitamins are common contents that could poison a child. If you
use a poisonous product, put it away immediately.
- Never call medicine "candy" in order to get a child to take
- Be sure there is syrup of Ipecac on hand in case of accidental
poisoning. Ask your employer to get some if not on hand
- When you call the California Poison Control System, take the
container and the child to the phone with you.
The Poison Specialist will ask you these questions:
- Your name and phone number
- The name of the child
- Your relationship to the child
- Age and weight of the child
- Determine how much was ingested.
- Describe what happened and the name of the product
- Time of poisoning
- How does the child look and feel now
Always call, even if you are not sure. Better to be safe.
What is Syrup of Ipecac?
Ipecac is a medicine used to induce vomiting.
* * *
- Use Only As Directed by a Physician or the Poison Control
- Never give ipecac after swallowing drain or oven cleaner,
gasoline, turpentine, furniture polish, bleach or detergent.
- Do Not give to babies under one year old.
- Age 1-12: give one tablespoon (1/2 ounce).
- Over 12: give whole one-ounce bottle. Follow with one glass of
water. If vomiting has not occurred within 30 minutes call the
Poison Center or physician again for further advice.
- Available in 1-ounce bottles at drugstores, without a
prescription. Cost: about $2.00.
Of the 5 million poisonings that happen each year, 53% happen to
children under 6.
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