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In the United States, a child is accidentally poisoned every 30 seconds.  Millions of people are unintentionally poisoned every year. Young children are naturally curious and will often touch or taste new objects that they find in their surroundings. Almost any substance can be a poison when used incorrectly or in excessive amounts.   

It is important to know that Poisoning CAN be prevented.  At Bradford Tioga Head Start, staff take an active role in educating children and parents about the dangers of poison. They discuss what the steps that can be taken to prevent accidental poisoning. 

The first step in avoiding an unintentional poisoning is for parents to keep all common household chemicals and medicines out of sight and out of reach of children. Cleaners and household chemicals should be placed in a locked cabinet.

Next, adults should talk to children about the dangers of poisonous materials and provide examples. Children should know that when in doubt about whether or not something is poisonous, they should check with an adult before eating, drinking, smelling or touching any unknown substance. Children also need to know there are many poisonous products that often look identical to non-poisonous products. (For example medicine and candy, blue Windex and blue Kool-Aid) Looks can definitely be deceiving so when in doubt, they should ask an adult!

Parents and other adults should also talk with children about steps they can take to ensure that the environment is safe for their child and free from poisons. Adults should tell children that dangerous, poisonous items will be marked with an X or that a Mr. Yuk sticker will be put on substances they should never eat or drink. Mr. Yuk is a trademarked graphic image, created by the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, and widely employed in the United States in labeling of substances that are poisonous if ingested.

Finally, everyone should have the Poison Control Hotline number in their phone and or posted in their home.  In the event of an accident, this will make it easier to receive help quickly! If you have a question about a product, or you suspect someone has been poisoned call the hotline.  Poison centers offer free, private, confidential medical advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can reach your local poison center by calling 1-800-222-1222.