Release date: March 18, 1985
Release number: 85-013

Release Details

Thirty-six percent of all prescription drugs swallowed by children under five involve grandparent's medication according to a CPSC study recently released in cooperation with the Poison Information Center at the Children's Hospital of Birmingham, Alabama.

This surprising statistic was revealed at a news conference today marking the 24th annual observance of National Poison Prevention Week sponsored by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Poison Prevention Week Council and the National Capital Poison Center at Georgetown University Hospital scene of the news conference.

CPSC Chairman Terrence Scanlon noted that many children under age five often gain access to their grandparent's medication when visiting them or when grandparents visit their grandchildren.

The Chairman emphasized that "Grandparents should use child resistant bottle-top closures whenever children are around. I know that these tops are difficult to use, but the inconvenience is worth the trouble. It may save a child's life."

Mrs. Pauline Coker and her three year old daughter Kristen of Clarksville, Maryland, were on hand to talk about Kristen's accidental medicine poisoning about a year ago when she swallowed some of her grandfather's blood pressure pills when Mrs. Coker's parents came to visit from Geneva, Ohio.

Toby Litovitz M.D., Director of the GUH National Capital Poison Center said: "Each year two to three million phone calls are received by the :1ations Poison Centers. We handle 30,000 annually."

If a poisoning should occur, call the nearest regional poison control center Dr. Litovitz urged. The telephone number is usually found on the inside front cover of the telephone book. In the metro Washington, D.C. area the number for any poisoning emergency is 625-3333.

The experts at the National Capital Poison Center are there 24-hours a day to provide immediate assistance and treatment recommendations.

William Bradley, Chairman of the 32-member Poison Prevention Week Council offered these ten rules for prevention poisoning accidents:

1. Keep household chemicals and medicines out of the reach of children and locked up when not in use.
2.When you use household chemicals or medicines, never let them out of your sight, even when you answer the telephone or the doorbell.
3.Store all medicines separately from household chemicals.
4.Keep items in their original containers.
5.Leave original labels on all products, and read the label before using.
6.Always leave the light on when giving or taking medicines.
7.Avoid taking medicines in front of children since youngsters tend to imitate grown-ups.
8.Refer to medicine as "medicine" -- not "candy".
9.Clean out medicine cabinet when the illness for which it was prescribed is over.
10.Use safety packaging properly -- by closing the container securely after use.


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