Many Iowans are launching into spring cleaning projects and one medical expert suggests they also take a few minutes to poison-proof their homes. This is Poison Prevention Week in Iowa and registered nurse Tammy Noble is spokeswoman for the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center, based in Sioux City.
Noble says the week is an effort to increase the awareness of the dangers of accidental poisoning and to encourage parents to take preventive measures in their homes to protect kids.
Some tips include: remove household cleaning products and drain cleaners from under the sink, all medications out of reach and out of sight, child safety latches on all drawers or cabinets containing harmful products or sharp objects.
Noble says Iowans need to know what to do if there is a poison emergency in their home — and have the hotline number handy. "People get into the mentality of ‘it won’t happen to me,’ and then when it does happen, they’re not always sure what to do," she says.
"It’s better to be prepared and take care of the poisons in your home, keep them in locked cupboards and also, having that phone number available."
The Iowa Poison Control Center first opened in 1982 and expanded statewide in 2000. Noble says the 24-seven hotline typically gets 50,000 calls a year.
Most of the calls are about children under age six. She says that’s a high-risk category because most kids in that range can’t read, think everything has to go in their mouths, and that everything looks and tastes good.
The hotline number is toll-free: 800-222-1222. Noble says the Poison Control Center’s website is also very comprehensive.