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Childproof Your Medicine Cabinet for Poison Prevention Week

About 70 percent of parents and caregivers admit they've stored medications where children might reach them. (Getty Images)
About 70 percent of parents and caregivers admit they've stored medications where children might reach them. (Getty Images)
March 19, 2018

GALVESTON, Texas — Every nine minutes in this country, a child under age six arrives at an emergency room because of accidental medication poisoning - and every 12 days, that accident is fatal.

The six locations in the Texas Poison Center Network receive more than 175,000 calls for help each year. March 18-24 is Poison Prevention Week.

The group Safe Kids Worldwide tracks progress and educates people about safe medicine storage. Morag Mackay, the group's director of research, said parents and caregivers often think childproof containers are enough of a deterrent.

"Kids are fast. When we talk to parents that come into emergency rooms, they say, 'I turned my back for like less than a minute, and when I turned around, she had the bottle in her hand and had it open,’" Mackay said.

She said their research found in about half of over-the-counter poisoning cases, the child climbed on a toy, a chair or other object to reach the medicine. And while most parents agree that it's important to store medicine out of reach after every use, she said seven in ten admit they've stored pill bottles in places a child could get to them.

Mackay said while medication-poisoning cases are on the rise, other common products around the house can also be dangerous - and sometimes, deadly.

"Not just prescription medicine or over-the-counter medications like cough and cold medicines,” she said; “we're talking things like vitamins and supplements, and even some things that you wouldn't think of as being toxic or poisonous to kids, like diaper cream."

There are six regional Poison Control Centers in Texas, located at major medical centers in Galveston, Dallas, San Antonio, Temple, Amarillo and El Paso. If a child ingests something poisonous, the number for all locations in the Texas network is: 1-800-222-1222.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - TX