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It doesn’t take much to make a small child sick. Kids have faster metabolisms than adults, and anything they ingest will be absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly.
Poison control centers in the United States receive 1.2 million calls each year as a result of accidental poisoning of children ages 5 and under. Each year, about 53,000 kids in that age group are treated in emergency rooms for poisoning, and about 70 die. Nearly 90% of these toxic exposures occur in the home, and 60% involve non-pharmaceutical products such as cosmetics, cleansers, personal care products, plants, pesticides, art supplies, alcohol and toys.
Child-resistant packaging is credited with saving hundreds of children’s lives since its introduction in the 1970s, and childhood lead poisoning declined by 80% in the 15 years after unleaded gasoline and paint became industry standards. Still, there is no substitute for active supervision and childproofing. If a product label says ‘keep out of reach of children,’ there’s a reason. Keep it up high and in a locked cabinet.
Safe Kids Denver Metro reminds parents to keep the poison control hotline number handy. Memorize this toll-free number: 800-222-1222. Keep it near every phone in your home and program it into your cell phone. From anywhere in the United States , this number connects to the local poison control center.
Call 911, not poison control, if a child is choking, having trouble breathing or having a seizure. Follow the 911 operator’s instructions. Whether calling 911 or the Poison Center , do not induce vomiting or give the child any fluid or medication unless directed.
Safe Kids Denver Metro offers these additional tips:
For more information about poison prevention, please contact the Safe Kids Denver coordinator at 720-777-8412 or visit www.usa.safekids.org.
Safe Kids Denver Metro works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 years and under. Its members include individuals from over 50 health and safety agencies and organizations throughout the Denver metropolitan area. Safe Kids Denver Metro is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Denver Metro was founded in 1998 and is led by Children's Hospital Colorado.