TORONTO, May 29, 2012 /CNW/ - Across Canada, each year an estimated seven children under 14 die and close to 1,700 find themselves in the hospital with serious injuries due to poisoning. Of all deaths and hospitalizations by poisoning, children under five years old make up 86 percent.
Ontario's doctors would like to see an end to these preventable injuries and deaths, by raising awareness about poisoning prevention during Safe Kids Week, which runs from May 28th to June 3rd.
Results from a Leger Marketing poll showed nearly all parents surveyed (98 per cent) with children age 14 and under feel it's important to lock up medications. Yet despite this, half of parents surveyed store products in places easily accessible to children.
When it comes to safeguarding medications, a few easy steps can mean the difference between safety and tragedy.
- Keep all medications - both prescription and over-the-counter - in a locked cabinet, and take care to always put them into this cabinet immediately after taking them. Placing medications 'out of reach' is not enough, since children will climb and explore, and can reach unexpected areas of counters or cabinets; and
- Keep all medications in their original containers and packaging. Child-resistant packaging is effective at keeping most children out of containers. Some children may still be able to open them, so keeping medications in locked cabinets is crucial; and
- If you are travelling with medications in your bag, ensure that the bag is properly closed and out of reach to prevent curious children from finding them. If you have guests, place their belongings in a safe place away from children in case the guests carry any medications with them.
"Safe Kids Week is an excellent reminder to be vigilant around the home. Poisoning incidents are frightening and can sometimes be tragic. If parents take a few small precautions, unintentional poisonings can be avoided. Ontario's doctors are encouraging parents who have medication stored around the home to take the appropriate steps to protect their children."
Dr. Doug Weir
Ontario Medical Association
- Safe Kids Canada reports that almost two-thirds of poisoning incidents (64%) occur among children aged 1-4.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) states that poisoning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury hospitalisations, after falls, for children aged 1-4.
- Medication is the leading cause of poisoning in children (involved in 67% of poisoning cases), over all other toxic household substances.
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