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National Poison Prevention Week: Tips to Prevent Poisonings


In President Obama's Presidential Proclamation on March 15, 2010, he emphasized the importance of alerting American families about the dangers of accidental poisonings and providing information on safety measures that can prevent senseless injuries and deaths. Portland Fire & Rescue has researched and provided below safety tips to prevent poisonings for you, your family, and friends.  These safety tips are brought to you by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Drugs and Medicines

  • When you take or give medicines, make sure to first read and then follow directions on the label. Read all warning labels thoroughly and take time to learn about drug interactions and other cautions.  Drug interactions may make your drug less effective, cause unexpected side effects, or increase the action of a particular drug. Some drug interactions can even be harmful to you. Also, some medicines cannot be taken safely when you take other medicines or drink alcohol.
  • If you take or give medications at night, make sure to turn on a light so you can ensure you have the correct amount or dose of the right medicine.
  • Keep all medicines in their original bottles or containers.
  • Never share or sell your prescription drugs.
  • Keep pain medications in a safe place that can only be accessed by people who take or give them.
  • Monitor the use of medicines prescribed for children and teenagers, including medicines for attention deficit disorder, etc.
  • Dispose safety of unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs.

Household Chemicals

  • Always read the label before using any products in your household.
  • Keep products in their original bottles or containers.
  • Don’t use food containers to store chemical products.
  • Never mix household products together.
  • Wear protective clothing (gloves, long sleeves, long pants, socks, shoes) if you spray pesticides or other chemicals.
  • Turn on the fan and open windows when using chemical products such as household cleaners.

Keep Young Children Safe from Poisoning

  • Put the poison control number, 1-800-222-1222, on or near every home telephone and save it on your cell phone. Remember, doctors and nurses are staffed to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All it takes is a phone call.
  • Keep all drugs in medicine cabinets or other childproof cabinets that are inaccessible by children.
  • Avoid taking medicine in front of children or referring to it as “candy.”
  • Be cognizant of any legal or illegal drugs that guests may bring into your home. Do not let guests leave drugs where children can find them.
  • Never leave children alone with household products or drugs. If you are using chemical products or taking medicine and you have to do something else, such as answer the phone, take any young children with you.
  • Do not leave household products out after using them. Return the 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.

What to do if a poisoning occurs

  1. Stay calm.
  2. Call 911 if you have a poison emergency, the victim has collapsed, or is not breathing. If the victim is awake and alert, dial 1-800-222-1222. Be ready to provide (1) the victim’s age and weight, (2) the container or bottle of the poison if available, (3) the time of the poison exposure, and (4) the address where the poisoning occurred.
  3. Stay on the phone and follow the instructions from the emergency operator or poison control center.

March 19, 2010



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