Monday, March 18, 2013

Kansas marks "National Poison Prevention Week"

In recognition of National Poison Prevention Week, March 17-23, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and the Kansas Child Death Review Board today reminded parents and caregivers of the dangers of poison and the importance of keeping children away from poisonous items.

“A few common-sense steps can prevent many childhood poisoning accidents,” Schmidt said. “Simply taking a few minutes to evaluate the safe storage of medications and other poisonous materials can prevent injuries and save lives.”

“Many medications and poisons resemble common foods and snacks,” added Angela Nordhus, executive director of the Child Death Review Board. “For example, window cleaners or antifreeze could look like a sports drink to a child and pills could remind them of candy. Medications and poisons should always be stored in their original containers and kept out of reach of children. Children are also at a higher risk of injury and fatality when they are unsupervised. Lack of supervision is a recipe for disaster.”

A poison is anything that can cause sickness or death if it gets into or on the body. The most common types of poison include:
  • Solids - Examples include pills, batteries, plants and berries.
  • Gases - Poisonous gases like carbon monoxide are invisible and are often odorless, unless it contains an additive to make it smell as is the case with propane.
  • Liquids - Liquid poisons can be any color and are creamy, gummy or watery. Examples include household cleaning products, antifreeze, medicine, gasoline, paint and farm chemicals.
  • Sprays - Spray poisons come from a can or bottle. 
They can easily get into your eyes, mouth or lungs. Examples of spray poisons include lawn/garden sprays, household cleaning products and cosmetic products.

Most poisoning events take place at home.

However, incidents have occurred where children visiting grandparents were poisoned after ingesting their grandparent’s medication, which was not properly stored before the visit. Unused medications should be properly disposed to prevent accidental ingestion.

Medicines can be dropped off at many law enforcement centers year-round for proper disposal. Additionally, National Drug Take-Back Day is scheduled next month on Saturday, April 27. Unused medications will be accepted on that date for disposal at many special drop-off sites throughout the state.

A list of drop-off locations will be available on the Attorney General’s website,, prior to the event.

The following tips can help prevent poisoning:
  • Provide supervision to children at all times.
  • Do not assume a child cannot open a medicine bottle. Many medications resemble candy and children will mistake them as such. Store all medications in locked cabinets out of the reach of children.
  • Store all household cleaning products and outdoor chemicals, such as lawn/garden sprays, bug sprays, gasoline, etc., in a child-proof cabinet or shed.
  • Do not smoke in the same room with a child.
  • Teach children the importance of not consuming unknown items.
If you discover your child has ingested a harmful product, call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 to be connected to a poison control center in your area.