Tips on keeping poisons away from kids

ALBUQUERQUE (KASA) – We are right in the middle of National Poison Prevention Week and this is a good time to remind parents and caregivers again about the dangers that common household items – even prescription drugs – can pose.

If a child or someone ingests something poisonous, the time to get help is critical and that help is just a phone call away.

“A few reasons to call the poison center is that it’s free, it’s confidential, the people who answer the telephone are pharmacists – registered pharmacists – who are specially trained in toxicology and the management of poisonings. So, they are the experts of the state,” said health educator Jacqueline Kakos of the New Mexico Poison Control Center.

Those experts are standing by with critical advice on what to do in that situation to keep it from getting worse.

But there are preventative measures parents can take which could stop an incident even before it begins.

“We would like [parents] to keep all poisons, cleaners, materials in the garage,” Kakos said, adding that includes oils, gasoline, medications, vitamins, batteries and encapsulated detergent. “They need to keep everything like that out of sight and out of reach.”

Just because something is out of reach, doesn’t mean it’s completely free from potential disaster.

One other crucial reminder about poisons is “they can look alike with food and drink, so store your potential poisons away from food and drink,” Kakos said.

Avoiding a careless mistake could mean the difference between life or death. But if a child does ingest poison, the toll free number for the New Mexico Poison Control Center is 1-800-222-1222. All calls are free and kept confidential.