By CHRIS AGEE
Various advocacy groups are joining the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to bring attention to a potentially deadly issue during Poison Prevention Week: March 17-23.
Beginning Sunday, this is the 51st year the agency will sponsor a week dedicated to informing individuals about the prevalence of poisonous substances.
Palo Pinto General Hospital Emergency Room Director James Fesser said the cases of poisonings he sees overwhelmingly fall into one category.
“The most common poisoning that we see, by far, is little children that get ahold of medications that were prescribed to a grandparent or parent,” he said.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than half of the 2.4 million individuals who swallow or come into contact with poisonous substances each year are under the age of 6.
“When these kids start to go from infant to a toddler, they can reach things like that,” Fesser said, explaining the danger can be greater in the home of a grandparent or other caregiver.
“The thing is just awareness of where your medications are when grandkids come to visit, especially if you’re not in the mode of having them with you all the time,” he added. “It’s not uncommon to leave them on a nightstand.”
To aid in educating guardians, the AAP released a list of prevention and treatment tips in coordination with Poison Prevention Week.
At home, guardians are urged to put safeguards in place to prevent accidental poisonings. According to the AAP website, the most dangerous common household products include medicine, cleaners, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, pesticides, furniture polish, gasoline, kerosene and lamp oil.
To help prevent ingestion of these products, the group recommends storing them in their original packaging and in locked cabinets.
Additionally, automatically locking safety latches can be installed on doors to any container housing potential poisons.