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posted on March 18, 2013 16:33

NEWS RELEASE--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                    Date: March 18, 2013

Contact: Niki Forbing-Orr
Public Information Officer
(208) 334-0693

Protect your family from accidental poisonings

Accidental poisoning is the third leading cause of unintentional deaths among Idahoans, with children younger than 5 being most at risk. Accidental poisoning or exposure to harmful substances caused the deaths of 117 Idaho residents in 2011. That same year the regional poison control center responded to 16,000 poisoning calls from Idaho residents. 

This week is National Poison Prevention week, and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, the 2-1-1 Idaho CareLine, the Idaho Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and Idaho Childcare centers will conduct education about the dangers of accidental poisonings and prevention strategies.

Tips to help keep children safe from poisoning:

  • Keep all medications in childproof containers and cabinets that young children cannot reach or open. 
  • Turn on a light when you prepare medicines for children so you know you have both the correct dosage and the right medicine. 
  • Avoid taking medicine in front of children because they often copy adults.
  • Do not call medicine "candy." 
  • Do not let guests leave medications or other potentially dangerous substances where children can find them, for example, in a pillbox, purse, backpack, or coat pocket. 
  • When you take medicines yourself, do not put your next dose on the counter or table where children can reach them. 
  • Never leave children alone with household products or medications. If you are using chemical products or taking medicine and you have to do something else, such as answer the phone, take young children with you. 
  • Do not leave household products out after using them. Return products such as cleaning supplies and personal care products to a childproof cabinet as soon as you are done with them.
  • Identify poisonous plants in your house and yard and place them out of reach of children or remove them. 
  • Inspect your garage to ensure paint thinners, antifreeze, bug spray, weed killers, windshield washer and gasoline are all stored securely and out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Put the Idaho Regional Poison Center’s  toll free number (1-800-222-1222) on or near every home telephone, memorize it, or save it on your cell phone in case of a poisoning emergency.

The leading causes of poisoning in Idaho children are pain killers such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen; creams and ointments such as diaper cream; foreign bodies, particularly toys; drying agents such as the silica gel packets found in packaging; cosmetic and personal care products; and household cleaning and automotive products. Most of these poisoning exposures occur in a child’s home.

Free poison prevention materials are available from 2-1-1 Idaho CareLine for parents, educators and service providers. Materials include Mr. Yuk stickers and magnets that can be used to signal adults and children that an item is poisonous. You can also order the DVD “STOP, Ask First” that emphasizes the message of always having children stop and ask an adult before touching, tasting, or smelling anything.  Printable materials are also available for download and include brochures, poster contest information, poison prevention week letters, and presentation packet items.

For more information about National Poison Prevention Week or to order materials call 2-1-1 or 1-800-926-2588, visit the 2-1-1 Idaho CareLine website at and look for the Mr. Yuk sticker on the right side of the page, or email your request to