Poison Prevention Week, held during the third week of March, reminds us that some of the deadliest and most dangerous items in our homes are hiding in plain sight. Just take a peek under your kitchen sink or in your laundry room. And don’t forget to have a look inside your medicine cabinet. Household cleaning agents, prescription medications, pesticides, and other items can pose serious hazards to the health and well-being of our families and even our pets. And there are a whole host of items that we may overlook which can also be dangerous, such as art supplies, plants, and food.
Better to be safe than sorry, as the old saying goes. And you’ve come to the right place to make sure you stay informed and your loved ones stay healthy.
Poison Prevention Week timeline
- December 30, 1970
President Nixon signs Poison Prevention Packaging Act
The law requires child-resistant packaging for, among other things, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and household chemicals.
Congress gets the ball rolling
The United States Congress passes a joint resolution authorizing and requesting that the president issue an annual proclamation designating the third full week of March as National Poison Prevention Week.
- November 1953
Poison control centers spring up
The first poison center in the United States opens at Presbyterian-St Luke's Hospital in Chicago.
How to Observe Poison Prevention Week
Memorize the Poison Control help line phone number
It's easy to remember: 1-800-222-1222. Save it on your smartphone. And make sure to place the number where others can easily find it. (The kitchen fridge is a good place.)
"Poison proof" your home
There are plenty of resources out there with handy lists of ways to poison proof your home. The government's Health Resources and Services Administration is an excellent place to start.
Spread the word
Tell your families, neighbors and coworkers about poisons and how to keep themselves safe. This can be done in emails, memos, or in groups set up for this purpose on social media.
4 Critical Things You Must Know About Poisons
Poisons pose a threat of widespread danger
About 30 children die every year from being poisoned by common household items, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
They're also a source of close calls and worry
The Consumer Product Safety Commission also reports that accidental poisoning accounts for more than 2 million calls each year to poison control centers and more than 80,000 visits to the emergency room.
Effective advocacy and education can help
National Poison Prevention Week contributed to an 80 percent reduction in poison-related deaths since the early 1970s.
There's a particularly ominous threat out there
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that has no color or smell. Cars, appliances, furnaces, and other household items can emit carbon monoxide.
Why Poison Prevention Week is Important
Protecting our children is our top priority
The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that 9 out of 10 unintentional child poisonings happen in the home. Poison Prevention Week gives us the tools to make sure our children don't become another statistic.
There's so much to know
It's easy to become overwhelmed by all the warning labels affixed to the products we bring into our homes. Poison Prevention Week inspires us to learn the basics and to continuously update our knowledge with the latest info.
Parents must get involved
Parents play a critical role in helping their tweens learn about the responsible use of OTC (over-the-counter) medicines.