State Senator Recognizes LECOM for Poison Prevention Efforts
In keeping with the College's mission of service to others, students raise awareness of important health issue

Nationally, tens of thousands of children annually require treatment for unintentional poisonings.

The unfortunate reality is that every single one of those incidents could have been prevented. During National Poison Prevention Week, March 15-21, Safe Kids Erie and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) will work with local elementary schools and teachers to help ensure that children do not ingest harmful poisons, which can include everything from prescription medications to common household items and cleaners.

“National Poison Prevention Week is a valuable opportunity for us to raise awareness of the many potential risks to children, not all of which are obvious,” said Patty Puline, Coordinator of Safe Kids Erie. “Though many accidental poisonings involve prescription medications, parents also need to be sure that young children don’t have access to potential poisons like cosmetics, personal care products, and pesticides.”

State Senator Sean Wiley (r) presented a proclamation to LECOM and Safe Kids Erie in recognition of their efforts to raise awareness of poison prevention. The proclamation was presented at St. Peter Cathedral School, with Principal Mary Gibson (left) and Patty Puline, Coordinator of Safe Kids Erie.

Safe Kids Erie, an agency of LECOM, is offering educational programs for students and teachers at St. Peter Cathedral School, 160 West 11th St., and at Asbury Elementary School, 5875 Strerrettania Road.

To kickoff Poison Prevention Week, State Senator Sean Wiley presented a proclamation recognizing and thanking Safe Kids Erie and LECOM for their efforts to raise awareness, educate others, and reduce the number of accidental poisonings.

“By educating local residents about preventive steps, we can make real progress in keeping our loved ones safe,” Senator Wiley said. “It is vital that people arm themselves with basic information on poison prevention in the home, such as keeping chemicals out of the reach of children and carefully reading the labels and dosages on all products. As a founding member of Safe Kids Erie, I applaud the continuing efforts of LECOM and Safe Kids Erie to raise awareness of the importance of this issue and for being proactive in working with the community.”

Safe Kids Erie’s commitment to poison prevention is in keeping with LECOM’s mission of community service and promoting improved health for all. Through its network of volunteers and partnerships with local school districts and non-profit agencies, Safe Kids Erie is ideally positioned to raise awareness and educate families. LECOM’s pharmacy and medical students will help emphasize a key theme of Poison Prevention week: accidental poisonings, particularly those involving children, can be prevented through relatively simple steps, such as storing medicines and other potentially harmful items safely and securely.

In addition to Poison Prevention Week, LECOM students participate in other, related events throughout the year, including efforts to collect unused and unwanted prescription medications and those emphasizing that some candy and medicines look almost identical. 

Nationally, an estimated 90,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for exposure to poison, and about 30 deaths are reported as the result of poison-related incidents, according to the Poison Prevention Week Council. In addition, more than 2 million poisonings annually are reported to the 57 poison control centers nationwide, with most non-fatal poisonings involve children younger than six, the Council notes.

More about Poison Prevention Week

Public Law 87-319, approved in 1961, requested the President of the United States to designate annually the third week in March as National Poison Prevention Week. Shortly thereafter, the Poison Prevention Week Council was organized to coordinate this annual event and promote poison prevention. Its members include representatives from industry, government, and non-profit and health organizations.

Sponsored by the Poison Prevention Week Council, National Poison Prevention Week is designed to raise awareness of the problem of unintentional poisonings and how to prevent them. For more than 50 years, National Poison Prevention Week has been dedicated to educating the public. Although the national observance occurs in March, the Prevention Week Council encourages people to focus on preventing poisonings in their daily living.

The Poison Prevention Week Council offers a number of general safety tips:

  • Use National Poison Prevention Week as the time to inspect your entire home for any medicines or household products, such as detergents, cleaning products, pesticides, and fertilizers that may not be stored properly and correct the situation immediately. Always store medicines and household products up high, away and out of sight from children.
  • Install safety latches on cabinets used for medicines and household products.
  • Ensure children can’t use chairs or stack items to climb to products stored out of their reach.
  • Re-close medicines and other household products if interrupted during use. Many incidents happen when adults are distracted when using these products (e.g., by the telephone or the doorbell).
  • Buy products in child-resistant packaging whenever possible. But remember, child-resistant is not childproof, and is designed to keep children away from the product for a short time before a parent notices.
  • Once purchased, use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container tightly after each use.
  • If you think someone has been poisoned, call Poison Help, 1-800-222-1222, to reach your local poison center. This national toll-free number works anywhere in the U.S. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • Ensure that babysitters and other caregivers know the Poison Help number, 800-222-1222.
  • Read medicine and product labels before each use and follow directions exactly.
  • Teach children to always ask an adult before eating, drinking, or touching anything.
March 12, 2015
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