Senator Breslin: Prevent Tragedy By Poison-proofing Your Home

Neil D. Breslin

June 07, 2007

State Senator Neil D. Breslin (D-Albany) today applauded National Safety Month, observed each year during June. In recognition of the annual event, he asked New York parents and guardians to set aside a little time to make sure their homes are safe for little ones.

"Most people regard their home as a safe haven in a stormy world, but home can be a dangerous place when it comes to accidental poisoning," Senator Breslin said. "As quickly as a toddler can act, so too can deadly poisons."

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.

"The sad fact is many of these terrible accidents could have easily been prevented, and painful– if not tragic– circumstances avoided, had family members taken simple steps to poison-proof their homes," the Albany lawmaker said.

The obvious first step, Senator Breslin said, is to keep all household chemicals and medicines out of sight and out of reach of children. He specifically 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

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

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

"Although warnings about poisoning conjure up the skull and crossbones image, many accidental poisonings result from the ingestion of non-lethal substances in toxic amounts," Senator Breslin concluded. "Don't be lulled into a false sense of security. Walk through your home with a fresh pair of eyes– a toddler’s eyes– and take any necessary steps to make sure their world is as safe as possible."