Safety officials warn of household poisoning dangers for children

Monday, March 10th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Parents and caregivers need to do more than rely on child-resistant packaging to protect kids from being poisoned, safety officials said Monday.

About 30 children younger than 5 die each year from accidental poisonings, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which announced that National Poison Prevention Week begins on March 16.

``Special packaging is child-resistant, not childproof, so you also need to keep medicines and chemicals locked up,'' said Hal Stratton, chairman of the safety commission.

Poison control centers receive more than 1 million calls each year about accidental poisonings of children under 5 years of age from medicines and household chemicals, the agency said.

A national poison emergency hot line _ 1-800-222-1222 _ that links callers anywhere in the country to medical experts at local centers has received nearly 1 million calls in its first year, said Douglas Borys, president of the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

To prevent poisonings, the safety agency said people should:

_ Call 1-800-222-1222 immediately in case of poisoning. Keep on hand a bottle of ipecac syrup but use it only if the poison center instructs you to induce vomiting.

_ Keep all chemicals and medicines locked up and out of sight. When products are in use, never let young children out of your sight.

_ Avoid taking medicine in front of children. Refer to medicine as ``medicine,'' not ``candy.''

_ Keep items in original containers with their original labels and close child-resistant packaging securely after each use.

_ Keep away from children lamps and candles that contain lamp oil, which can be very toxic if ingested.

_ Always leave the light on when giving or taking medicine. Read the label before using and check the dosage every time.

_ Clean out the medicine cabinet periodically and dispose of unneeded and outdated drugs.