March 18-24 is National Poison Prevention Week

Dear Editor:

Parents need to familiarize themselves with potential poisonous materials in their households and ways they can protect their children from accidental poisonings, said New Jersey Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, Christine Grant.

“National statistics show that a child is poisoned every 30 seconds and 60 percent of all poisonings occur to children under the age of six,” said Commissioner Grant. “Most times, these poisonings are preventable. Any parent knows that young children often get into places they shouldn’t, and when parents are momentarily distracted, it can happen very quickly. In the hopes of continuing to raise awareness of how fast a childhood poisoning can take place, this year’s National Poison Prevention Week, March 18-24, theme is “Children Act Fast…So Do Poisons!”

“It’s important for parents to be aware of the common household items that, literally within minutes, can lead to poisoning,” said Commissioner Grant. “In a moment’s time, a young child can get into common household items that are potentially poisonous such as laundry detergent left in the basement or furniture polish left out after cleaning. Without a parent realizing it, their child can accidentally eat or drink something that can be poisonous. Parents need to be prepared on what to do if that happens.”

In recognition of National Poison Prevention Week, Commissioner Grant is offering helpful tips to keep all New Jersey youngsters safe from accidental poisonings:

1. Keep all household poisons and medicines in their original containers.

2. Make sure you lock poisons and medicines out of the reach and sight of small children.

3. Try not to take medicine in front of children as some like to mimic adults.

4. Never leave children alone with household cleaning products or medication. If you are in the process of using a cleaning product or taking medication and are called away from the task, take the child with you or bring the products with you out of reach of the child.

5. Take the time to teach children about poisonous substances and the dangers of playing with them.

6. Keep the number of your poison center on or near the phone.

Commissioner Grant emphasizes the importance of parents taking the time to familiarize themselves with these simple steps to reduce the number of children who are accidentally poisoned each year.

For further information on poison centers in New Jersey, check your local phone book or check out the NJ Poison and Information and Education (NJPIES) website at

New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services


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