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Protecting Your Children From Accidental Medication Poisonings

Do you have medications around? I do, and keeping them away from the children is always a big concern. This informative article about accidental poisonings is from HSW:

Event Highlights
The theme of this year’s National Poison Prevention Week, "Locked Out of Reach", focuses on protecting children under six who are the most at risk. The following was adapted from information provided by Sick Kids Canada and the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control.  In addition to the advice below, please stay abreast of product recalls as advisories relating to the lack of child-proof containers or the lack warning labels are not uncommon. JA
Quick facts:Younger children are curious by nature and explore their environment by touching and putting everything they find in their mouths. "Medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, are involved in two-thirds of unintentional poisonings in children under 14," says Pamela Fuselli, Executive Director of Safe Kids Canada, "but household cleaners, garden chemicals, personal care products, plants and art supplies are other common causes of poisoning."

Children are natural explorers, and when it comes to finding medicines and chemicals in the home, it is vital that caregivers lock these out of reach.

The most common poisonous substances children are exposed to include cough/cold medicines, pain and fever medicine, plants and cleaners. Many poisonings in children happen just before lunch or dinner when children are hungry and least supervised, as the caregiver is busy making a meal.

Each year an estimated five Canadian children under 14 die and another 1,280 end up in the hospital with serious injuries due to poisoning. In BC, poisoning is one of the top three causes of death.

"Poison Control Centres across Canada receive about 160,000 phone calls each year," reports Dr. Martin Lalibert√©, President, Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres (CAPCC). "About 43 per cent of those calls are from frantic parents involving children younger than six years old.

Recommendations:Poisoning in young children is usually unintentional and can be significantly reduced through increased education for all caregivers, including parents, grandparents and babysitters. Many of these poisonings can be prevented by understanding how they occur, who is most at risk, and by ensuring hazardous substances are safely stored out of reach of young children.

•To help keep your child safe from poisoning, keep all medications and potential poisons in their original containers and locked in a cabinet or box, out of reach. Be sure to keep the phone number of your local poison control centre by your home phone and enter it into your cell phone and home phone contact lists.

•Many of these poisonings can be prevented by following directions on product labels, ensuring hazardous substances are put away safely, and keeping medicines and cleaners out of reach of young children.

•If you think your child has been poisoned, immediately contact the nearest poison control centre or call 911. More than 70 per cent of cases can be treated successfully at home.

For more information on unintentional poisoning and for tips on how to prevent them, please visit the websites for Safe Kids Canada (, Health Canada( and the Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres, ; where you can find a list of poison control centres.

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