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Atrium Health Navicent Pediatricians Urge Caregivers to be Aware of Toxic Household Items

Atrium Health Levine Children’s Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital encourages the community to take note of potentially deadly household substances that could cause harm to children during National Poison Prevention Week, observed March 17-23, 2024.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), poisoning is the leading cause of unintentional injuryrelated deaths in the U.S. In 2021, 102,001 people died as a result of poisoning. Although the majority of poison deaths are attributed to alcohol, household products such as cleaning agents, personal care and topical products, antihistamines, analgesics and pesticides are among the top 10 substances responsible for poisoning exposures annually.

In 2022, the 55 U.S. poison control centers provided telephone guidance for over 2.4 million poison exposures. While children under 6 years old comprise the majority of cases, poisoning affects all age groups. Across all ages, there were 610 poison exposures reported per 100,000 people. The highest incidence occurred in 1- and 2-year-olds.

Across all ages, 75.5 percent of poison exposures reported to U.S. poison centers in 2021 were unintentional. Mostpoisonings occur when parents or caregivers are home but not paying attention. Atrium Health Navient physicians caution that accidental ingestion of regular household substances such as certain plants, lawn fertilizers, alcohol and cleaning products including bleach, laundry and dishwasher detergents can lead to poisoning.

“Even a small amount of common househ old products and medications can be very dangerous when ingested by smallchildren. It’s incredibly important that adults are aware of potential hazards – laundry detergent pods, plants, medications,cleaning products and more – and keep them out of children’s reach,” said Dr. Ryan Davies, an Atrium Health Navicent pediatrician. If you suspect someone has been poisoned, call the Georgia Poison Control Hotline (1-800-222-1222) and seek medical help immediately.”

Follow these tips to keep children safe from accidental poisoning:

• Store medicine, cleaning and laundry products, paints and pesticides in their original packaging in locked cabinets, out of sight and reach of children.

• Safety latches that automatically lock when you close a cabinet door can help keep children away from dangerous products, but there is always a chance the device will malfunction.

• Purchase and keep all medicines in containers with safety caps. Discard unused medication. Never refer to medicine as “candy” or another appealing name.

• Check the label each time you give a child medicine to ensure proper dosage. For liquid medicines, use the dosing device that came with the medicine.

• If you use an e-cigarette, keep the liquid nicotine refills locked and out of children's reach and only buy refills that use child-resistant packaging. A small amount of liquid nicotine spilled on the skin or swallowed can be fatal to a child.

• Maintain working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

• Secure remote controls, key fobs, musical children’s books and other devices that may contain small batteries, which can cause injury if ingested.

• Know the names of all plants in your home and yard. If you have young children or pets, consider removing those that are poisonous.

• If you suspect your child has been poisoned, it’s important to get help right away. Some signs that indicate your child may have been poisoned include lethargy, an altered mental status, shallow breathing, diarrhea and changes in their pupils. If your child is experiencing any of those symptoms, take them to an emergency room right away.

The Pediatric Emergency Center at Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital is available 24 hours a day if poison exposure occurs. Designed specifically for children and families, the children’s hospital is staffed by board-certified pediatric specialists. Located at 888 Pine St. in Macon, care is available whenever an injury or illness occurs.

Caregivers are encouraged to prepare for poison emergencies by programming the Georgia Poison Control Helpline (1- 800-222-1222) into their phones and posting it in a visible location. Whether you have general questions or an emergency, health care professionals at the Poison Helpline are available 24 hours a day to answer questions at no cost to you.

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 health care in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent is part of Advocate Health, which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is the third-largest nonprofit health system in the United States, created from the combination of Atrium Health and Advocate Aurora Health. 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.

About Advocate Health

Advocate Health is the third-largest nonprofit integrated health system in the United States – created from the combination of Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health. Providing care under the names Advocate Health Care in Illinois, Atrium Health in the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama, and Aurora Health Care in Wisconsin, Advocate Health is a national leader in clinical innovation, health outcomes, consumer experience and value-based care, with Wake Forest University School of Medicine serving as the academic core of the enterprise. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Advocate Health serves nearly 6 million patients and is engaged in hundreds of clinical trials and research studies. It is nationally recognized for its expertise in cardiology, neurosciences, oncology, pediatrics and rehabilitation, as well as organ transplants, burn treatments and specialized musculoskeletal programs. Advocate Health employs nearly 155,000 team members across 68 hospitals and over 1,000 care locations and offers one of the nation’s largest graduate medical education programs with over 2,000 residents and fellows across more than 200 programs. Committed to equitable care for all, Advocate Health provides nearly $6 billion in annual community benefits.