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More African-American Children Die From Accidental Poisoning Than Other Children

March 22, 2007 by  
Filed under Health

Safe Kids Worldwide Targets African-American Parents and Caregivers During National Poison Prevention Week, March 18 – 24

Washington, DC (Akiit.com) – African-American children account for more than one out of four children killed by accidental poisoning in the United States, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data for 2000-2004. Each year, about 91,000 kids ages 14 and under are treated in emergency rooms for accidental poisoning and about 100 die. On average, 26 are African-American. Most accidental poisonings occur in the home, and over 40 percent of the time, they involve medications. Cosmetics, cleansers, personal care products, plants, pesticides, art supplies, alcohol and toys are also responsible for accidental poisoning.

“The high rate of accidental poisoning among African-American children stems from the fact that nearly one out of three African-American kids live in low-income households or neighborhoods,” said Robin Wilcox, program director of Safe Kids Worldwide. “Low-income households are less likely to invest in cabinet locks and other safety devices or to have access to reliable child care — so we need to make even greater efforts to help low-income parents keep their kids safe from accidental poisoning.”

In honor of National Poison Prevention Week 2007 (March 18-24), Safe Kids Worldwide is partnering with the Cardinal Health Foundation to reduce accidental poisoning among African-American and other children. A new poison prevention Web site, www.usa.safekids.org/poison, debuting March 19, features educational games for kids and parents to play together, poison safety checklists for parents and caregivers, and an interactive house that can be searched for poison-related hazards. On the Web site, adults can e-mail free greeting cards with poison prevention messages to others and take a pledge to keep their homes poison-free. It also includes a contest to name the animated talking pill bottle featured in an award-winning TV public service announcement by Safe Kids Worldwide and the Cardinal Health Foundation. The pill bottle reminds adults to keep medicines out of children’s reach. The person submitting the winning entry will receive $250.

Since African-Americans obtain their news from radio more frequently than other Americans, Safe Kids and Cardinal Health Foundation are also sponsoring a radio media tour of 13 cities with large proportions of African-Americans to get the message out to parents and caregivers about how to protect children against accidental poisoning. Cities featured in the tour include Louisville, Washington, D.C., Memphis, Little Rock, Cleveland, Chicago and Baton Rouge. Speakers will include local Safe Kids coalition coordinators who will talk about poison prevention and local poison prevention events in their communities.

In honor of National Poison Prevention Week 2007 (March 18-24), Safe Kids Worldwide is partnering with the Cardinal Health Foundation to reduce accidental poisoning among African-American and other children. A new poison prevention Web site, www.usa.safekids.org/poison, debuting March 19, features educational games for kids and parents to play together, poison safety checklists for parents and caregivers, and an interactive house that can be searched for poison-related hazards. From the Web site, adults will be able to e-mail free greeting cards with poison prevention messages to friends and relatives and take a pledge to keep their medicine cabinets and homes safe. The Web site also includes a contest to name the animated talking pill bottle which is the poison prevention mascot in an award-winning TV public service announcement by Safe Kids Worldwide and the Cardinal Health Foundation. The pill bottle helps to remind adults of the importance of keeping medicines out of children’s reach. The person submitting the winning entry will receive $250.

“Cardinal Health provides solutions, including medications, designed to improve quality, safety and efficiency in healthcare. It concerns us that sometimes parents and other caregivers can lose sight of the dangers that improper medication storage can cause for children,” said Debra Hadley, executive director of the Cardinal Health Foundation. “By increasing awareness of this problem and what to do to prevent it, we hope to reduce the number of accidental childhood poisonings from medications and other substances.”

Safe Kids Worldwide joins the Poison Prevention Week Council with the message, “Children act fast…so do poisons!” Hazardous products in the home, including medicines and vitamins, need to be stored out of reach in a locked cabinet. “Parents need to keep the toll-free poison control hotline number handy: 800-222-1222,” said Wilcox. “Keep it near every phone in your home and program it into your cell phone.” From anywhere in the United States, this number connects to the local poison control center.

“Call 911, not poison control, if a child is choking, having trouble breathing or having a seizure,” said Wilcox. “Follow the 911 operator’s instructions. Do not induce vomiting or give the child any fluid or medication unless directed.”

Safe Kids Worldwide offers these additional tips:

* Don’t refer to medicine or vitamins as candy. Children should not think of therapeutic substances as treats. And when you are administering medicine to your children, follow dosage directions carefully.

* Do not flush expired medications down the toilet. They can contaminate soil and groundwater. Contact your pharmacist to get instructions on the best way to dispose of expired medications. Some pharmacists will accept expired medications at their store for disposal or offer instructions on the best way to handle it if they don’t.

* Discuss these precautions with grandparents and relatives. Grandparents may have medications that can be very dangerous to children, and their homes might not be as well childproofed as yours.

* Get your home tested for lead. Kids inhale the dust of lead-based paint and can build up enough lead in their blood to affect intelligence, growth and development. An estimated 890,000 children ages 1 to 5 have too much lead in their blood. Lead-based paint was used in homes until 1978, so it’s important to have older homes tested.

* Install a carbon monoxide detector in every sleeping area. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that builds up around fuel-burning appliances — and cars in garages — and is present in tobacco smoke. It can make a child seriously ill in concentrations that would barely affect an adult.

* Stay alert while using cleaning products or other potentially harmful substances. A child can be poisoned in a matter of seconds. Never leave kids alone with an open container of something you wouldn’t want them to ingest.

* Learn which plants are poisonous. Keep poisonous houseplants out of reach, and teach children not to put any part of an outdoor plant in their mouths without adult supervision.

* Learn CPR. In less than three hours, you can learn effective interventions that can give a fighting chance to a child whose breathing and heartbeat have stopped. Ask your local hospital, fire department or recreation department where to get CPR training.

For more information about poison prevention and tips on keeping your children safe, visit: www.usa.safekids.org/poison. Safe Kids Worldwide is a member of the Poison Prevention Week Council (www.poisonprevention.org).
 


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