Reducing accidental poisonings in Utah

Utahns are encouraged to make sure potentially harmful items are out of children's reach during National Poison Prevention Week. Photo courtesy St. Louis County, Minnesota.

SALT LAKE CITY – As part of this week’s National Poison Prevention Week, Utahns are being encouraged to make sure that potentially dangerous substances are kept out of the reach of children. 

Marty Malheiro, outreach coordinator at the Utah Poison Control Center, says a lot of the 46,000 calls to her organization last year involved young children. 

“Just over 60 percent in Utah involve children under six,” she adds. “That is a little higher than the national average. Nationally it’s 50 percent, but we do have a higher proportion of children to adults in Utah.”

Malheiro says household cleaners, cosmetics and medications are the leading causes of poisoning in children. 

She stresses these items should always be stored in locations and at heights where children can’t reach them.

Malheiro says some adults poison themselves by accidentally overdosing on a prescription or over-the-counter drug. Others, she says, are attempting suicide. 

Melheiro adds that medications are the most dangerous substances for adults and children.

“Heart medicines, opioid narcotics, diabetic medicines, things like that where just one single dose could kill a child if they accidentally got into it,” she explains.

The Utah Poison Control Center is at 1-800-222-1222.

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