Spring is here and many Iowans are launching into spring cleaning projects, which means all sorts of cleansers and chemicals may be available for young hands to grab.
This is National Poison Prevention Week. Tammy Noble, a registered nurse and education coordinator at the Iowa Poison Control Center, says kids are a constant focus of prevention efforts.
“Children act fast and so do poisons,” Noble says. “The reason for that is, we know kids are naturally curious and they can get into things very quickly. It can sometimes only be seconds. When it comes to poisonings, sometimes those poisons can be very dangerous.” The Sioux City-based facility gets about 50,000 calls from Iowans every year.
“The top categories differ depending on the age group,” Noble says. “Kids tend to get into more cosmetics, personal care products, cleaners and medicines, while adults tend to have more medicines that we see their exposures with.” In recent years, more kids have been poisoned by biting into laundry detergent pods. They’ve also been swallowing button-sized batteries and magnets.
Noble suggests Iowans try to make their homes safer, for starters, by posting the poison center’s toll-free number by all telephones and also by saving it in your cell phone contacts. The number is 800-222-1222.
“Another thing is making sure you put medicines away,” Noble says. “Always put lids on those containers. Carbon monoxide is another thing we get a lot of calls and questions about, making sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home.”
Store all chemicals and cleansers in their original containers, so if there’s ever a problem, you can refer to the ingredients. Noble also says to be sure to read and follow all directions, whether it’s with a medication or a cleanser. Learn more about poison prevention at www.iowapoison.org.
(Reporting by Pat Powers, KWQC, Webster City)