Boone County Fire promotes National Poison Prevention Week

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COLUMBIA - Boone County Fire District gave mid-Missourians tips Tuesday to keep kids safe in honor of National Poison Prevention Week.

The Missouri Poison Center alone received more than 74,000 calls last year. More than half those cases involved children under six years old.

"The things we want to keep kids from are medicines, cosmetics and personal care products, cleaning products and foreign objects," said Peggy Kinamore, a registered nurse and the poison center's public education coordinator. "Medication safety is a big part of that."

Boone County Fire Captain Martina Ponds said she has responded to many accidental poisoning calls.

"Often times, kids have accidentally swallowed their parents' pills or something. Children see things differently and might think it's a toy or a snack. So we thought this was a good opportunity to remind folks about keeping things like medicines and cleaning products on high shelves," said Ponds.

Tips to prevent poisonings include:

  • Do not put your next dose on the counter or table where children can reach them. It only takes seconds for a child to get them.
  • If you have to do something else while taking medicine, such as answer the phone, take any young children with you.
  • Secure the child safety cap completely every time you use a medicine.
  • After using them, do not leave medicines or household products out. As soon as you are done with them, put them away and out of sight in a cabinet where a child cannot reach them.
  • Be aware of any legal or illegal drugs that guests may bring into your home. Ask guests to store drugs where children cannot find them. Children can easily get into pillboxes, purses, backpacks, or coat pockets.
  • Do not call medicine "candy". 
"You know, I can think of an iron supplement, which you can get without a prescription," said Kilgore's pharmacist Bill Morrisey. "But they are very colorful, look very similar to cinammon red hot candies or spree candies. A child can very easily overdose on iron. Iron poisoning is nothing to joke about."
Morrissey said as spring brings on allergies and allergy medications, Poison Prevention Week is a nice reminder for parents.