Health experts offer tips for parents during National Poison Prevention Week

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COLUMBIA – Mar. 19 through Mar. 25, MU Women and Children's Hospital and Safe Kids Columbia are coming together to raise awareness on the deadliness of poisons and medications as a part of National Poison Prevention Week.

The goal of the week is to raise awareness to prevent possible poisonings. Officials also look to educate people on what to do once someone has been poisoned.

"If a child gets into any kind of household product or a medication, you want to make sure to call the Poison Prevention Hot line right away," said Sheila Robertson, Injury Prevention Coordinator for the MU Women's and Children's Hospital and Safe Kids Coordinator.

Robertson said examples of common poisons amongst children are medications and household items, such as cleaning supplies or windshield wiper fluid.

"A lot of medications look like candy, and a lot of poisons look like things that kids may consume. Like Gatorade could look like window-washing fluid, it could look like Lysol. I mean there's a lot of look-a-likes out there," Robertson said.

Robertson also said parents should keep medications and other possible poisons up-high and out of reach from children. She also said she suggests parents use child-safety locks on their cabinets.

On Feb. 7, 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed the third week in March to be National Poison Prevention Week. 

In 2015, the American Association of Poison Control Centers manage about 2.8 million poison-related cases, of which about 47 percent of victims were children under 6-years-old.

On Apr. 29, MU Women's and Children's Hospital and Safe Kids Columbia are hosting their annual Safe Kids Day at the Hearnes Center Field House on the MU campus. The program's goal is to educate parents and children on how to keep kids safe.