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Poison Protection: New Campaign Helps Keep NJ Kids Safe [AUDIO]

It’s a number that keeps ringing, and ringing, and ringing!

Flickr User Patricia Marie Photography

The Poison Help Hotline receives 70,000 calls a year in Jersey – mostly from frantic parents of young children who have swallowed something dangerous or hazardous.

Kate Carr, the President of Safe Kids Worldwide – says overall deaths among children 1 to 14 due to accidental poisoning have dropped about 50 percent over the past 30 years, but the percentage of those deaths from medications has nearly doubled- so why is this happening?

She says, “The medications that are in homes – whether they’re over the counter or prescription medications have proliferated in houses – there are just more of them in the home and kids are curious…and they may help themselves to medicine you leave it on the counter or on a table…it’s right there and it’s an attraction…those curious minds and curious fingers can easily find that and open it up and there’s a real problem associated with that.”

Steven Marcus, the Executive and Medical Director of the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System says, “If you’ve got medications lying around, the child is going to explore and he’s going to get at them…we are on a campaign to have every household purchase and install a lockable medicine cabinet, or at least a lockable medicine safe.”

He says it’s ironic that “every state in the union requires smoke detectors, but nobody requires lockable medicine cabinets – and there are right now far more deaths from unintentional poisoning than there are from fires…we’re really not doing a very good job with trying to prevent those unintentional overdoses and large number of deaths.”

Marcus adds if your child swallows anything potentially dangerous, you can call “800-222-1222 – we have poison experts that are available 24-hours a day, 7-days a week to try to help an individual that may have been exposed to a poison.”

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