March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month, a great time to make ourselves aware of possible toxic substances at home, school and the workplace and how we can all do our part to prevent accidental poisoning of children and pets.
So why is this such a good time? Well, spring housecleaning, of course.
This is the time when we're cleaning out cabinets and cupboards and looking to throw away items that are no longer of use. That nearly empty can of toilet bowl cleaner? The one that's so corroded through the side that it's starting to eat into the bathroom vanity? Out that goes. And that bottle with just a few painkillers left? The ones we got from the doctor after pulling a leg muscle when we were shoveling snow a couple years ago? Those can go too. And how about outdated aspirin? What should we do with that? Well, by now we should know the drill.
The problem is, a lot of people don't take stock of possible poisonous substances that may be accessed by teens, children, toddlers or pets.
Teens, of course, are aware that something is or isn't good for them. And, while most teens are well-behaved, there are a few who might experiment with things like cough syrup or other over-the-counter medications with a potential for abuse. So talk to your teen about what's good and bad for him or her. Make sure he or she is well aware of the dangers - such as kidney or liver failure - that can result from OTC medicine abuse.
For children and toddlers, we need to make sure all items that are either poisonous or noxious in volume are locked up and shut away. Years ago, of course, they got rid of the skull and crossbones on poisonous substances because kids thought they were 'pirate candy'. That symbol was replaced by 'Mr. Yuck', of course.
And animals, unfortunately, are most subject to accidental poisoning. That leaker radiator dripping antifreeze on the driveway? That could be lethal to a dog or cat. The same goes for rat or mouse poison that could be fatal to a pet.
So, please, think of how poison can be accessible - and lethal - to children, toddlers and pets. A little prevention now can prevent a tragedy later.