DOI News

For Immediate Release: Contacts:
March 11, 2009 Kristin Milam
Johanna Royo
Newly Released Numbers Show: Poisoning Most Likely at Home
RALEIGH -- During National Poison Prevention Week, Insurance Commissioner and Safe Kids North Carolina Chair Wayne Goodwin reminds parents that kids are more likely to be poisoned at home than any other place. In North Carolina, nearly 75 percent of all calls to the Carolinas Poison Center originated from the home. National Poison Prevention Week 2009 is March 15-21.
"As a parent, it's very alarming to know that so many poisonings affecting young children can occur at home," said Commissioner Goodwin. "I want to make sure that other parents and caregivers know how to protect their children from ingesting anything poisonous."
Carolinas Poison Center, the N. C. Division of Public Health and Safe Kids North Carolina have teamed up to help get out the word that poison prevention starts with parents and caregivers. Nearly half of all calls to the Carolinas Poison Center in 2006 and 2007 came from parents and caregivers. And 40 percent of all cases involved children under six.
There were 901 deaths from poisoning reported for N.C. in 2007, according to data provided by the N.C. Division of Public Health; many more people were poisoned but did not die. What is poisoning people in North Carolina might surprise you. Carolinas Poison Center reports that in 2006 and 2007 there were:
  • more than 50,000 cases of poisoning from painkillers alone,
  • nearly 179,000 reported cases of poisoning from pharmaceutical medications,
  • more than 13,000 people were poisoned by cosmetics and personal care products,
  • more than 12,000 cases of household cleaning products poisoning, and
  • nearly 5,000 people were poisoned by plants.
To keep your families protected against poisoning, follow these safety tips in the home:
  • Remove all nonessential drugs and household products from your home. Discard them according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • If you have small children, don't keep highly toxic products, such as drain cleaners, in the home, garage, shed, or other place children can access.
  • Buy medicines and household products in child-resistant packaging and be sure that caps are always on tight. Do not remove child-safety caps. Remember child-resistant does not mean child-proof. Avoid keeping medicines, vitamins, or household products in anything but their original packaging.
  • Store all of your medicines and household products in a locked closet or cabinet - including products and medicines with child-resistant containers.
  • Make sure visiting grandparents, family friends, or other care givers keep their medications away from children. For example, if Grandma keeps pills in her purse, make sure the purse is out of children's reach.
  • Avoid products such as cough syrup or mouth wash that contain alcohol -these are hazardous for young children. Look for alcohol-free alternatives. Keep in mind, cough and cold medicines are no longer recommended for children under four.
  • Keep cosmetics and beauty products out of children's reach. Remember that hair permanents and relaxers are toxins as well.
Anyone who suspects they or someone else may have been poisoned should call 1-800-222-1222. You will speak to a local expert.
-- SKNC --