Poisoning Warning from NJ Health Officials
This is National Poison Prevention Week, and New Jersey health officials are reminding residents to beware of the dangers of "unintentional poisoning."
"Unintentional poisonings can be prevented," said state Health Commissioner O'Dowd. "All of us should take steps to make sure that our homes are as safe as possible by keeping common poisons such as medicines, cleaning products, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, pesticides, furniture polish, and gasoline out of the sight and reach of children."
In 2011, more than 1,300 New Jersey children under the age of six were treated in emergency rooms for unintentional poisonings. More than 150 were hospitalized. The state's Poison Information and Education System handled 62,216 calls last year. Nearly half of all calls involved children under six.
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, approximately 90 percent of poisonings happen at home. Unintentional poisoning is the cause of hundreds of thousands of emergency room visits each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
STEPS TO POISON-PROOF HOMES (FROM THE STATE HEALTH DEPT.):
- Properly dispose of all unused and/or outdated medicine
- Install a safety latch that locks when you close the door on child-accessible cabinets containing harmful products
- Purchase and keep all medicines in containers with safety caps and keep out of reach of children
- Never refer to medicine as "candy" or another appealing name
- Check the label each time you give a child medicine to ensure proper dosage
- Never place dangerous substances in food or drink container
- Keep coal, wood or kerosene stoves in safe working order
The state help line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-222-1222.