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Your Home Environment Resource - University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

Household Hints & HELP!

Poison Prevention Awareness Month

submitted by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator
This article appears in the March 20, 2005 Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper.

Have you checked your home for poisons lately? What is stored under your kitchen and bathroom sink? March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month, now is a good time to poison proof your home. Your home may be a poison danger zone for your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or any child who visits your home. Each year at least 600,000 children are treated for accidental poisoning. Many poisonings occur when a product and a child are left unattended for only a brief moment.

Keep the Poison Center phone number, 800-955-9119, on your refrigerator or near your phone.

A few simple steps to help prevent poisonings are:

  • Read and follow label directions before using drugs and household products.

  • Keep all drugs and potentially harmful household products out of reach of children or in a locked cabinet.

  • Keep all drugs and household products in their original containers.

  • Dispose of empty containers and unused portions correctly.

Take a few minutes to complete a safety check of your home.

Some items found in different rooms of your home are:

  • Bathroom—aspirin, bubble bath, drugs and medicines, iodine, eye makeup, nail products, cleaners and deodorizers.

  • Bedroom—cologne, perfume, mothballs, sleeping medications and nail polish.

  • Kitchen—antiseptics, cleaning fluids, copper and brass cleaner, dishwasher detergent, disinfectants, drain cleaners, epoxy glue, furniture polish, oven cleaner, plant food, pine oil or window cleaner.

  • Living Room/Family Room—alcohol, poisonous plants, camera and watch batteries, lighters and matches.

  • Laundry—ammonia, bleach and cleaning fluids.

  • Workshop/garage—antifreeze, gasoline, herbicides, insecticides, paint, paint thinner, rodent killers, kerosene, garden sprays and turpentine.

These items should be placed away from the reach of children. To prevent children from getting into cabinets and drawers use safety latches or combination locks. Children view items differently than adults. Harmful liquids may look like milk or juice; pills look like candy; or plants look like vegetables.

Please, take a few minutes a check your home. Spring is a good time to clean the house and garage/workshop and get rid of hazardous wastes and make it a safe place for everyone including pets.

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department will hold a Household Hazardous Waste Collection for Lancaster County residents, Saturday, April 16, 2005, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at State Fair Park, 4-H Youth Complex. Items accepted are pesticides, items containing PBCs, solvents, and heavy metals such as mercury. Additional collections will be held in May, June, September and October.

Do NOT bring latex paint, medicines, fertilizers (use up), batteries (recycle), antifreeze (recycle), explosives and ammunition, used oil (recycle) and general household or business trash. If you have questions on how to dispose of these items, call the LLCHD at 441-8040.

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