News Release

March 15, 2004

Contact: Jane Shaskan, 860-679-4777

Young Children Most Vulnerable to Accidental Poisoning

March 21 through 27 is National Poison Prevention Week

FARMINGTON, CONN. – How can you keep children safe from poisons? First with information and then with precautions, says Connecticut Poison Control Center Community Education Specialist Amy Hanoian Fontana. “Kids are fast and they are curious, but there are ways to make your home safer and significantly lower the risk of your child being exposed to poison,” she said.

Some of the most common poisonous substances frequently associated with poisonings and what you can do to minimize risk include:

  • Solids – chunky and chewy, such as pills, small batteries, plants and berries.
    Keep all medications out of view and reach of young children; never leave them out before or after administering them; and, if possible, keep all medications in a locked cabinet. Store all batteries in a locked cabinet. Learn about the plants in your yard and home. (A poisonous plant information brochure and other poison information flyers are available by calling 860-679-3531.)
  • Liquids – creamy, blobby or watery, and any color, for example floor cleaners, antifreeze, cough syrup, window cleaners, mouthwash and lamp oil. Pretty colored liquids, like reds, blues and purples, are especially tempting to young children. Sprays – cans or bottles, such as furniture polish, bug spray and household cleaners can get in the eyes or lungs.
    Don’t store cleaning products, liquids or sprays, under the sink unless you have secure child safety locks and most importantly always use them. Antifreeze, gasoline, bug sprays, and the like should be stored away from areas where children play and out of their sight and reach.
  • Invisible substances – carbon monoxide, which is produced from anything that burns, including furnaces, grills, fireplaces, and vehicle exhaust, to name a few.
    The Connecticut Poison Control Center strongly recommends the use of carbon monoxide detectors in the home. Symptoms of CO poisoning mimic flu-like symptoms. If symptoms disappear when you leave your environment, you should suspect CO poisoning. Never use grills or burn charcoal indoors and be sure your chimney is cleaned and inspected regularly.

According to the 2002 annual report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there was a 4.9 percent increase in the number of poison exposures nationwide compared to the previous year. “It’s a never-ending mission,” said Fontana, “to educate people about poisons and poison prevention.”

If you suspect a poisoning, don’t wait to see what happens; call the national emergency poison control hotline 24-hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-800-222-1222.

For more poison prevention tips and information, visit the Connecticut Poison Control Center at

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