Upstate News

March 13, 2001
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Central New York Poison Control Center urges parents to become aware of household poisons during Poison Prevention Month

With March designated as Poison Prevention Month, the Central New York Poison Control Center is urging parents to become more aware of the poisonous substances that might be easily found by young children at home.

“When one takes a careful look at how many poisons there are and where they are stored, it can be quite frightening,” said Gail Banach, education coordinator for Poison Control. “Every room in the house, from the attic to the basement and, especially the garage, is likely to have some toxic substance that may be within easy reach of children.

Banach said pesticides, deodorants, cleaners and perfumes may all cause some degree of poisoning if used incorrectly. “Even some houseplants, if ingested or even touched, may cause a harmful reaction,” she said.

The best thing to do if one suspects that someone has ingested a potentially poisonous material is to call Poison Control. A specialist in poison information, a registered nurse trained in toxicology, will ask several questions and offer the best course of treatment to prevent serious illness.

Most of the calls of household poisonings (85 percent) that are received by Poison Control can be treated at home. Only 11 percent of exposure calls require treatment in an emergency facility and only 3 percent require emergency transport, according to Banach.

The most common call to Poison Control is for an overdose of acetaminophen. “Adults should make sure that this product is not within easy reach of children,” Banach said. “Adults must check very carefully that the dose they give a child correlates correctly with how much the child weighs.”

Banach said that even if one suspects that they may have given their child too much acetaminophen always call the Poison Control Center. An overdose of acetaminophen does not always produce immediate symptoms, but can be dangerous, she said.

The Central New York Poison Control Center handles more than 25,000 calls annually and serves the following counties: Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Jefferson, Lewis, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, St. Lawrence, Tioga and Tompkins.

The center is a service of SUNY Upstate Medical University and University Hospital and a member the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

In case of poison emergency, contact the Poison Control Center at 315-476-4766 or 1-800-252-5655.

Editor’s Note: Syracuse Mayor Roy Bernardi and Onondaga County Executive Nicholas Pirro will sign a proclamation March 22 at the CNY Poison Control Center at 10 a.m celebrating March as Poison Prevention Month. The CNY Poison Control Center is located in Suite 105, 550 E. Genesee Street, Syracuse.

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