CONTACT: TOM MOORE
Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications
8798 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
Release: March 20, 2001
Specialists at Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- More than 1.1 million American
children 5 years old and younger were exposed to potentially poisonous substances
in 1999, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
Specialists are placing special emphasis on preventing those dangerous situations
during National Poison Prevention Week, March 18-24.
One of the leading causes of poisoning among young
children is exposure to common household substances, such as cleaning solutions.
"Many incidents happen when adults are using cleaning products, but are distracted
by the telephone or doorbell ringing," said Linda Kalin, managing director
of the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center. "In just those few moments, a
curious child can be exposed to that toxic substance, which is why it is crucially
important that household chemicals and medicines be stored away from children
at all times."
Poison prevention specialists say the use of child-resistant
packaging is effective in preventing exposure to toxins. Experts also say
homeowners should leave products in their original containers, and keep the
original labels intact. In addition, periodically clear the medicine cabinet
of outdated medications, and always refer to medications as "medicine" when
speaking to children, and not as "candy."
If you suspect that a child might have ingested a
toxic substance, contact the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center. "You should
keep a bottle of syrup of ipecac on hand, but use it only if the poison control
center staff instructs you to induce vomiting," Kalin said.
The Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center is a service
provided jointly by University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and St. Luke's
Regional Medical Center in Sioux City. Staff members respond to calls from
the public and health care professionals regarding poison information and
treatment. Specialists at UI Hospitals and Clinics and St. Lukes sites
provide outreach education and training to health care providers.
The new center opened last fall and expects to receive
25,000 calls this year from people seeking information about various poisons
and toxic substances.
The combined center answers calls from parents and
other consumers in their homes, as well as community hospitals, paramedics
and first responders, businesses, group homes, nursing homes, corrections
facilities and medical examiners. The center responds to inquiries 24 hours
a day and serves all 99 counties in Iowa.
For more information, contact the Iowa Statewide Poison
Center toll-free at (800) 222-1222.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership
between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the
patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.