August 18, 2022

National Poison Prevention Week is 60; Drop in Child Poisoning Deaths

National Poison Prevention Week is 60 years old. There has been a dramatic drop in child poisoning deaths over the decades since this was started because of the efforts of the government and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

National Poison Prevention Week is 60; Drop in Child Poisoning Deaths

Alexander Hoehn-Saric, Chair of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said in a statement, “Decades of diligence and collaborative efforts have contributed to a dramatic decline in children being poisoned. Yet, progress is not guaranteed. Recent increases in fatalities demonstrate the need for continued vigilance and work to limit and eventually eliminate these preventable tragedies.”

National Poison Prevention Week started in 1962. Since then, this community, which includes the American Association of Poison Control Centers, consumer advocates, medical professionals, development organizations, industry, and the government, have worked together to address child poisoning. The Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970 and the Child Nicotine Poisoning PreventionAct of 2015 are two of the landmark laws that have helped address this issue.

According to the 2022 Annual report on Pediatric Poisoning Fatalities and Injuries, an average of 31 children under the age of five die in the United States every year of unintentional poisonings from consumer products. This is a decline of 80% from 1972, when 216 children died.

But sadly, fatalities have increased over the past several years. Pediatric poisoning fatalities doubled from 17 in 2018 to 34 in 2019 and increased to 43 in 2020. Narcotics, such as opioids, made up almost half of these deaths. The pandemic may have played a factor in this increase, since more families are staying at home and spending time indoors. This increases the risk of unintentional poisonings.

Poison dangers to children include medicines and household chemicals, coin-size batteries, and liquid nicotine. In 2020, blood pressure mediations, acetaminophen, antidepressants, dietary supplements, and bleach were among the top five substances unintentionally digested by children.

To keep your children safe, keep all chemicals, medications, and cleaning supplies stored in a locked cabinet or box, out of the ranch of children. Keep medicines and chemicals in their original, child-resistant containers. Store laundry detergent packets out of sight and reach. And do not leave products with accessible button batteries within reach of children.

Call Poison Help at 800-222-1222 immediately if a child is exposed to chemicals or swallows something harmful.

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