In recognition of National Safety Month, an annual event held in June, State Senator Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn) today urged New York parents and guardians to take steps to poison-proof their homes in an effort to prevent accidental poisonings among young children.
"We like to think of our homes as bastions of safety in an unsafe world, but in reality, homes can be an exceedingly dangerous place, especially for little ones," said Senator Adams. "I know only too well how quickly a young life can be lost after the ingestion of ordinary household products, but in toxic amounts."
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, a child is accidentally poisoned in the United States every 30 seconds. Each year, thousands of children ingest common household products, such as cleansers, paints, cosmetics, insect sprays and medicines. Data show that 60 percent of all poisonings occur to children under six years of age.
Senator Adams said that many accidental poisonings could be prevented, and painful– if not tragic– circumstances avoided, by simply looking at a home with a fresh pair of eyes– a toddler’0s eyes. "From that vantage point, you’ll see how easily a bright bottle of perfume or a tube of aspirin can look like a sweet treat."
To poison-proof a home, the first step is to place all household chemicals and medicines out of sight and out of reach of children, Senator Adams said. He also mentioned special toddler locks are available for kitchen cabinets. Other child safety suggestions include:
Keep all drugs, household products and pesticides in their original
containers. Follow label instructions for use and for safe discarding.
Do not call medicine "candy" and avoid taking medicine in front of
young children, who like to imitate adults. Put medications in a
place where no one else has access to them.
Do not leave household products out after use. Never leave
children alone with household products or drugs.
Post the national toll-free poison control number – 1-800-222-
1222– on or near every home phone and save it on your cell phone.
This emergency line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
However, if a victim of poisoning has collapsed or is not
breathing, call 911.
With a little bit more knowledge, families can protect their young ones from hurt and harm. For more safety tips, and information on how to handle a childhood poisoning emergency, visit the web site of the American Academy of Pediatrics at www.aap.org.
"Accidental poisonings often occur when parents or caregivers are home but not paying attention," Senator Adams concluded. "Yet we know that young children love to explore their environment, opening cabinets and containers and putting things in their mouths. As adults, it’s critical that we take the time to poison-proof our homes. The alternative is a potentially fatal disaster."