Monday, March 15, 2010

National Poison Awareness Week

Preventing Unintentional Poisoning

March 14th - 20th is National Poison Prevention Week. Health Canada, in partnership with Safe Kids Canada and the Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres, is reminding parents and caregivers about the dangers of unintentional poisoning and offering tips on how to keep children safe.

Parents and caregivers are urged to keep chemicals, medications, cleaning supplies and art supplies not meant for children safely stored in a locked cabinet or box, out of the reach of children. If a poisoning is suspected, the local Poison Control Centre or 911 should be contacted immediately.

"Unintentional poisoning is a common cause of preventable injury to children in Canada," said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. "We are urging parents and caregivers to help keep children safe by learning and adopting some basic poison prevention techniques in the home."

The Government of Canada's environmental health guide--Hazardcheck--also provides general advice to Canadians and information on what parents can do to create a healthy environment for their children, including tips on preventing unintentional poisoning. Hazardcheck is available in print and on Health Canada's website.

Children under five are at the highest risk of poisoning and the theme chosen for National Poison Prevention Week in 2010, "Locked Out of Reach" was selected to help protect those most vulnerable. "Medication is the leading cause of poisoning in children, but household cleaners and personal care products are other common causes of poisoning," says Pamela Fuselli, Executive Director of Safe Kids Canada. "We encourage all parents to take this opportunity and check that their medications and all potential poisons are in their original containers and locked in a cabinet or a box out of the reach of children."

"Each year there are thousands of calls to our Centres related to accidental poisoning in children and, in the majority of cases, children can be treated at home," said Dr. Martin Laliberte, President, Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres. "If a poisoning should occur, Canadians should immediately contact the nearest Poison Control Centre or call 911."

Health Canada offers educational programs, such as the Stay Safe program which teaches children to recognize the hazard symbols found on household chemical products in a fun and interactive way. The Stay Safe program promotes these simple and effective messages for children:

  • Stop when you see a container - don't touch
  • Look for a hazard symbol
  • Stay safe - go get a grown up

For more information on unintentional poisoning and for tips on how to prevent them, please visit the websites for Health Canada, Safe Kids Canada and the Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres.


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