, BC – Children are natural explorers, and when it comes to finding medicines and chemicals in the home, it is vital that caregivers lock these out of reach.
More than 20,000 people are involved in accidental poisoning every year and more than half of these cases are in children under the age of six, according to the Poison Control Centre at BC’s Drug and Poison Information Centre (DPIC).
“We receive almost 100 calls a day,” explains Debra Kent, Managing Director for DPIC. “Many poisonings can be managed at home with the advice of the Poison Control Centre and we want to remind parents, caregivers and friends to call, even if they suspect they are dealing with a potential poisoning. The BC Poison Control Centre is available to anyone in BC, 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and is staffed by specially trained nurses and pharmacists.”
The theme of this year’s National Poison Prevention Week, Locked Out of Reach, focuses on protecting children under six who are the most at risk.
“Poisoning in young children is usually unintentional and can be significantly reduced through increased education for all caregivers, including parents, grandparents and babysitters,” says Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall. “Many of these poisonings can be prevented by understanding how they occur, who is most at risk, and by ensuring hazardous substances are safely stored out of reach of young children. As well, in the event of a poisoning, caregivers need to be aware of the services of the BC Poison Control Centre – an essential component of public health services in our province that can be accessed by dialling 1-800-567-8911.”
The most common poisonous substances children are exposed to include cough/cold medicines, pain and fever medicine, plants and cleaners. Many poisonings in children happen just before lunch or dinner when children are hungry and least supervised, as the caregiver is busy making a meal. Parents and caregivers are urged to keep medicines in a locked cabinet or box, out of reach of children, and store chemicals and cleaners safely in a locked cabinet.
In BC, poisoning is one of the top three causes of death from injury, and it has been estimated that unintentional poisonings cost British Columbians $216 million annually in both direct and indirect costs. Many of these poisonings can be prevented by following directions on product labels, ensuring hazardous substances are put away safely, and keeping medicines and cleaners out of reach of young children.
On March 20-26, please join the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre in promoting National Poison Prevention Week and “Locked Out of Reach”.
For more information on the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre and Poison Prevention Week, please visit www.dpic.org. Colour posters, pamphlets in multiple languages, phone stickers, and refrigerator magnets are free of charge for BC residents. They can be obtained from the website, by email at email@example.com or by phone at 1-800-567-8911.
The Poison Control Centre at BC’s Drug and Poison Information Centre (DPIC) is located at the BC Centre for Disease Control, and part of the University of British Columbia and the Provincial Health Services Authority. The Centre offers British Columbians a 24-hour telephone support and advice line, which is staffed by specially trained pharmacists and nurses who will provide treatment advice on chemical or drug poisonings and overdoses. If you or someone you are with swallows or handles a potentially dangerous product, immediately call the poison centre hotline at 1-800-567-8911. “Don’t Guess… Be Sure… Phone the Poison Control Centre.”