Washington, D.C. — Safe Kids Worldwide and the Cardinal Heath Foundation are introducing a new national poison prevention campaign during National Poison Prevention Week, March 19-25, 2006. This campaign, featuring an animated pill bottle, is designed to educate parents and caregivers about the risks of medication-related poisoning to children.
Each year, more than one million children ages 5 and under are accidentally poisoned and 90 percent of accidental poisonings happen in the home. Children are at significantly greater risk than adults for accidental poisoning, because they are smaller, have faster metabolic rates and are less able physically to handle toxic chemicals. In addition, natural curiosity and their desire to put everything in their mouths increase their poisoning risk. Forty percent of accidental poisonings of children ages 5 and under are from prescription drugs and other medications.
“We are very fortunate to be working with the Cardinal Health Foundation. Without their dedication to educating parents and caregivers on proper use and storage of medications, we would not be able to reach out to people across the country with this campaign,” says Martin R. Eichelberger, M.D., president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “Many parents do not realize that everyday products such as vitamins and cough syrup can be harmful to kids if not taken properly. It is essential that parents and caregivers store medications away from children and follow dosage instructions.”
The Cardinal Health Foundation entered into a partnership with Safe Kids Worldwide in early 2005, providing funding to create a bilingual national public awareness campaign to prevent medication-related poisonings to children. In addition to 15- and 30-second Public Service Announcements, Safe Kids has established a new toll-free number, 1-800-238-8580, that parents and caregivers can call to receive a free brochure with important information about preventing medication-related poisonings to children. The number and tips for parents are being advertised on educational posters distributed by Safe Kids coalitions across the country as well as in the PSA. All of the materials are created in both English and Spanish, and direct parents and caregivers to call the new toll free number or visit the Safe Kids Web site for more information.
“Cardinal Health manufactures and distributes medicines designed to help keep people healthy, but we know that parents can lose site of the dangers that improper storage or dosing can cause to children,” said Debra Hadley, executive director of the Cardinal Health Foundation. “By increasing awareness of this problem, we hope to help reduce the number of accidental childhood poisonings from medications on a national basis.”
Sample materials, visuals of the animated character and copies of the PSA are available for interested media.
Safe Kids Worldwide is a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury, a leading killer of children 14 and under. More than 450 coalitions in 16 countries bring together health and safety experts, educators, corporations, foundations, governments and volunteers to educate and protect families. The organization was founded in 1987 by Children’s NationalMedicalCenter with support from Johnson & Johnson.