Tricounty News

Is your home poison-proof?

National Poison Prevention Week: March 15-21, 2009 Children's bodies are still in the developing stages, and even a brief encounter with a poison in the home can have devastating consequences. "The short amount of time it takes to answer a phone call or see who's at the door is all that's needed for a curious toddler to find his or her way to the cabinets where kitchen cleaners are kept, or the medicine cabinet," said Don Keenan, founder of the non-profit child advocacy organization Keenan's Kids Foundation. Each year, more than two million poisonings are reported to Poison Control Centers nationwide, and more than 90 percent of all incidents happen inside the home. "The majority of non-fatal poisonings occur in children ages six or younger," said Keenan, author of child safety book 365 Ways to Keep Kids Safe. "Take this week as the perfect opportunity to talk with your kids about hazardous substances; let them know they should never eat or drink anything they cannot identify." National Poison Prevention Week is held the third week in March every year, highlighting the dangers of poisonings and how to prevent them. Here are some tips for parents to help "poison-proof" the home, based off the 365 Ways to Keep Kids Safe checklist for poison safety: 1. Store medicine, household cleaners, paints/varnishes and all pesticides in their original packaging in locked cabinets or containers out of a child's reach; also install safety latches on child-accessible cabinets containing any harmful products. 2. Only purchase medicine with safety caps and discard unused and expired medication; never refer to medicine as "candy" or something desirable for eating; and always check labels when providing a child with medicine to ensure proper dosage. 3. Keep coal, wood, and kerosene stoves in safe working order; and maintain working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors near all bedrooms (hardwiring when feasible). If your child appears to have been poisoned, call the Poison Control Center national hotline at (800) 222-1222. For more information about National Poison Prevention Week and other tips and information, visit www.poisonpreventionorg. Don Keenan is the founder of the Keenan's Kids Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to child safety. Visit www.keenanskidsfoundation.comto find out more. Keenan's book "365 Ways to Keep Kids Safe" is available at www.balloonpress.com or at www.amazon.com . All proceeds benefit the Keenan's Kids Foundation.