Poison Prevention Week focuses on safe storage

March 23, 2022

SOUTH ZONE – National Poison Prevention Week is March 20-26.

Alberta Health Services, The Injury Prevention Centre (IPC), Poison and Drug Information Services (PADIS), and community partners are asking Albertans to be aware of how to prevent unintentional poisonings by safely storing all poisonous substances in and around the home.

Items such as paints, automotive chemicals (oil, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid), fertilizers and pesticides are often kept in sheds and garages. When used incorrectly, these products can cause unintentional poisonings and serious injury. These products should be stored in their original containers, up high and out of reach. This helps to ensure they are used correctly and for their intended purpose.

Other poisonous substances around the home may include household cleaners, medication, tobacco, sanitizers, detergent, vitamins, personal care products, cosmetics, car supplies, paints, plants, and pesticides. Although we may not think of all these products as dangerous, they can cause unintentional poisoning and serious injury when misused. These products also need to be stored properly in their original containers, and not be accessible to children.

Cannabis should be kept out of sight and reach of children. Edible cannabis products come in forms like gummies and chocolate, which are attractive to children, and need to be kept up high and out of reach.

Due to their curiosity, smaller size, and lower body weight, children are particularly vulnerable to poisoning. In 2018 in Alberta, there were more than 1,400 emergency and urgent care visits for children under 10 years of age due to unintentional poisoning.

Between 2016 and 2021, PADIS received more than 25,000 calls a year concerning potential poisonings within Alberta, or approximately 70 calls each day. Of those calls, 44 per cent involved children aged five years and under being exposed to medications, vitamins, hand sanitizer, essential oils, toothpaste with fluoride, and glowsticks.

Ensuring all potential poisons remain in their original containers and are locked up tight out of sight is a crucial step to preventing unintentional poisoning.

Guests, family, or friends may bring their medication or personal care items into your home. Put purses, backpacks, and coats out of children's reach.

Put the Poison and Drug Information Services (PADIS) emergency number in your mobile phone. If you are concerned that someone has been poisoned, call PADIS at 1-800-332-1414.

To help families identify common poisons within the home, Parachute Canada has developed a Poison Storage Checklist. Families can use the checklist to ensure all poisons are stored safely within the home. Poison Storage Checklist_PPW_V4-2022.indd (parachute.ca).

Please visit the Injury Prevention Centre for more information regarding the 2022 Poison Prevention Week Campaign and how you can raise awareness within your community. https://injurypreventioncentre.ca/campaigns/poison-prevention

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.