National Poison Prevention Week: Check For Poisons Among Household Items

With more and more families spending time at home, it's more important than ever to know how to safely use and store items such as household cleaners, medications and cannabis products. These are just a few of many potential poisons in Canadian homes.

Parachute, a charity dedicated to reducing the devastating impact of preventable injuries, is joining forces with its partners across the country to show all Canadians they have the power to check for toxins and prevent unintentional poisoning at home.

"Each year, more than 4,000 people in Canada lose their lives and more than 20,000 are hospitalized due to poisoning," says Pamela Fuselli, President and CEO for Parachute. "To prevent poisonings from unintended exposures to household items, prevention is in your hands: we recommend storing products in their original, child-resistant packaging and keep items tempting to young children, such as pills that look like candy, both out of reach and locked away."

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased focus on handwashing, cleaning and disinfecting therefore these products may be more accessible by children.

"The number of calls to poison centres regarding hand sanitizers, bleaches and disinfectants grew significantly in 2020, compared to 2019," says Dr. Margaret Thompson, President of the Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres." She recommends people review the labels on such products and don't mix together cleaning products, which can cause chemical reactions that produce dangerous gases.

Every household should also have their local poison centre contact information readily available. Store in your cellphone or in a visible location, such as on the fridge.

"A recent survey conducted by Parachute found that only 40 per cent of Canadian parents know about local poison centres, and the advice they can provide if a child is exposed to a potential posion," says Fuselli.

To find complete list of poison centre numbers across Canada, go to parachute.ca/poisoning or www.ontariopoisoncentre.ca.

Other poison issues that have emerged in recent years, impacting children include:

Cannabis edibles, which often resemble common snacks (e.g., cookies, brownies, gummy candies). A young child may be unable to tell the difference and unknowingly consume a large amount.

Liquid nicotine refills for e-cigarettes, which are sold in flavours that may be appealing to children. Nicotine can be harmful to a child if they put it in their mouth, swallow it or spill it on their skin

Colourful, transparent laundry detergent pods may look like candies or toys to children. These can harm a child if ingested, or if the liquid squirts into their eyes.

All these items should be stored securely out of children's reach.

Check out Poison Prevention Week resources: Parachute.ca/PoisonPreventionWeek and join in this awareness campaign on social media using the hashtags #CheckForPoisons and #NPPW2021.

This program is made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada, however the views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada.

About Parachute

Parachute is Canada's national charity dedicated to reducing the devastating impact of preventable injuries. Injury is the No. 1 killer of Canadians aged 1 to 34, where on average one child dies every day due to injury. Through education and advocacy, Parachute is working to save lives and create a Canada free of serious injuries. For more information, visit us at parachute.ca

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