It’s time for spring cleaning and officials with the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center urge people to also clean out any potentially-hazardous items from their homes.
Tammy Noble, the Sioux City-based center’s education coordinator, says more than half of their hotline calls come from parents of young children, usually in one of three categories. Noble says it’s either a medication, a cleaner from under the kitchen sink, or a cosmetic or personal care product, like shampoo, lotion, make-up or toothpaste.
This is National Poison Prevention Week and Noble says many kids have no idea the dangers that may be lurking within a hand’s grasp. She says, "When you ask a pre-schooler if they have poisons in their home, the majority of them will say, ‘No, we don’t have anything in our home that’s harmful.’ It’s really important that parents take the time to talk to their kids about poisons. Make sure they realize they have poisons in their homes. These are things we don’t taste, we don’t touch and we don’t smell."
The center’s website features a long list of things parents can do to make their homes more poison-proof, like moving cleaning products from under the sink to somewhere out of reach, leaving no medicines out on counters, and locking up or moving gasoline and other hazards in the garage or shed.
Noble says it’s not just the young kids who might accidentally hurt themselves with regular household products, as older kids may start experimenting with ways to get high. She says parents of teenagers and young adults need to be aware of inhalant abuse.
Noble says anyone with questions can visit the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center website at "www.iowapoison.org" or call 800-222-1222. That hotline gets about 40-thousand calls a year from Iowans.