Poison Prevention Week – March 15-21, 2020

March 15–21

National Poison Prevention Week is observed during the third week of March every year and exists to highlight the risk of being poisoned by household products. Take a peek under your kitchen sink or in your laundry room and there’ll be tons of stuff that could be dangerous. 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. National Poison Prevention Week is here to raise awareness of these dangers and to make sure we are all mindful of what lurks in our own homes.

History of Poison Prevention Week

Poison Prevention Week was established by Congress in 1961 with the aim of creating awareness and lowering the number of unintentional poisonings. The first National Poison Prevention Week was observed in March 1962 under the presidency of John F. Kennedy.

Over 2 million potential poisonings are reported in the U.S every year, with over 90% of these occurring in the home and the majority of them being young children. Every day over 300 children require treatment in an emergency department, with an average of two deaths per day being recorded. Most of these incidents revolve around highly toxic household items such as cleaning products and medicine.

In 1962 the National Poison Prevention Week Council was established to oversee National Poison Prevention Week. They focus their energies on partnering with other agencies such as the National Safety Council and the American Cleaning Institute to try and be more effective in their awareness campaigns.

Poison Prevention Week timeline

1970

Child-resistant Closures

Child-resistant closures were made for aspirin bottles after the Poison Prevention Packaging Act was passed. This was mandatory for prescriptions, over the counter medicine, and all dangerous household products.

1962

Council Established

The National Poison Prevention Week Council is established to help with the awareness campaign.

1961

The Start of National Poison Prevention Week

Congress established National Poison Prevention Week on Sept.16, 1961. The National Poison Prevention Week now is held the third week in March each year.

1953

Very First Poison Center

The first poison center in the United States opens at Presbyterian-St Luke's Hospital in Chicago.

Poison Prevention Week FAQs

Are there any housekeeping tips to prevent poisonings?

There are always things we can do at home to implement poison control. Useful tips include cleaning out your medicine cabinet periodically, keeping all chemicals out of sight from children, and keeping all items in its original container.

Where can I get more information on preventing poisonings?

For more information, reach out to your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222. You’ll make a bigger difference for you and your family by doing your part.

When is National Poison Prevention Week?

National Poison Prevention Week is the third week of March every year.

How To Celebrate Poison Prevention Week

  1. Educate yourself

    If you don’t know much about poison prevention and would like to learn more, visit the Poison Help website, which educates us on ways to prevent poisoning and how to respond if it occurs. The more information you know, the better.

  2. Do some spring cleaning

    Since National Poison Prevention Week and Spring fall in the same week, this is the perfect time to deep clean the rooms in your home, get rid of old and outdated products, and open windows when using strong chemicals to allow air into the house.

  3. Participate with friends

    The National Poison Prevention Week Council holds an annual poster contest to promote National Poison Prevention Week. This is a fun activity you could do with your friends. After you make your posters, put them up in your neighborhoods to spread more awareness.

Five Facts About Poison Prevention Week

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Effective advocacy and education can help

    National Poison Prevention Week contributed to an 80 percent reduction in poison-related deaths since the early 1970s.

  4. 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.

  5. Poison control centers are always available

    Someone calls a U.S. poison control center every 12 seconds. Poison centers are here 24/7 to help and support us when poisonings happen, but to prevent them at all costs.

Why Poison Prevention Week is Important

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Parents must get involved

    Parents play a critical role in helping their tweens learn about the responsible use of OTC (over-the-counter) medicines.