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Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital Encourages Caregivers to be Aware of Harmful Chemicals

Doctors at Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital encourage the community to take note of potentially deadly chemicals that could cause harm to children during National Poison Prevention Week, observed March 20-26, 2022.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), poisoning is the leading cause of unintentional injuryrelated deaths in the U.S. In 2020, 87,404 people died as a result of poisoning. Household products such as cleaning agents, personal care and topical products, and pesticides are among the top 10 substances responsible for poisoning exposures annually. Misuse of prescription painkillers and exposure to carbon monoxide are also leading causes of poisoning.

In 2019, U.S. poison control centers provided telephone guidance for over 2.1 million poison exposures. While children under 6 years old comprise the majority of cases, poisoning affects all age groups. Across all ages, there were 643 poison exposures reported per 100,000 people. The highest incidence occurred in 1- and 2-year-olds.

"One pill can kill. Take this week as an opportunity check your home for dangers and make it safer for your family and visitors,” said Dr. Umesh Narsinghani, a pediatric critical care specialist at Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital. “If you do suspect that someone has been poisoned, seek help immediately.”

To lessen the risk of poisoning in your home, follow these tips:

• Secure household products and medicines out of the sight and reach of young children. Install safety latches on cabinets used for medicines and household products. Keep them in their original containers, and store them away from food.

• Buy products with child-resistant packaging, but still store the items with care. Nothing is truly child-proof.

• Never call medicine “candy.” Poisons may look like food or drink. Teach children to ask an adult before tasting anything.

• Always read product labels and follow any directions.

• If you don’t have a working carbon monoxide alarm in your home, install one.

• Talk with teens and pre-teens about the dangers of using products and drugs to get “high.”

• If you think someone has been poisoned, call 1-800-222-1222 right away.

Caregivers are encouraged to prepare for poison emergencies by programming the national Poison Helpline (1-800-222-1222) into their phones and posting it in a visible location. Health care professionals at the Poison Helpline are available 24 hours a day to answer questions about medications, household products, chemicals, bites and stings, plants and mushrooms, and many other potentially toxic items.

The Pediatric Emergency Center at Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital is also available 24 hours a day if poison exposure does occur. Designed specifically for children and families, the facility is staffed by board certified pediatric specialists and located at 888 Pine St. in Macon, care is available 24 hours a day.

Since 1962, the President of the United States has proclaimed the third week of March as National Poison Prevention Week. The American Association of Poison Control Centers and poison prevention partners nationwide will raise public awareness of the dangers of poisonings and how to prevent them during this week. While more than 90 percent of poison exposures occur in the home, exposures may also occur in the workplace, schools and other locations and may affect teenagers and adults as well as children.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit www.NavicentHealth.org.