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Childhood Poisoning Facts

A. Over 2 million human poison exposures are reported to poison control centers nationwide on an annual basis.

B. Over 50% of poison exposures occur in children less than 6 years of age.

C. Every 30 seconds a child is poisoned in the United States.

D. Swallowing a poison is the most common way a child is exposed.

E. Less than 3% of all poison fatalities every year now occur in children less than 6 years of age; however, on average, 30 children in this age group still die every year as a result of poisonings.

F. Carbon monoxide exposure is the most common reason for poisoning deaths in young children.

G. Adolescent poisonings primarily involve intentional/suicidal ingestions.

H. Over 65% of calls to poison control centers involve children and adolescents.

I. Nearly 75% of all poison exposures can be managed in a non-health care facility (e.g., at home) as long as a poison center is consulted.

J. Most common pharmaceutical ingestions in young children include pain relievers (e.g., Tylenol) and cough and cold preparations.

K. Most common non-pharmaceutical ingestions in young children include cosmetics/personal care products and cleaning substances.

L. The 3 most common swallowed plants include the peace lily, the Philodendron and the poinsettia.

M. The most common reasons for therapeutic errors (when a medicine is given incorrectly) in children less than 6 years old include:

1. Accidentally given medication twice

2. Incorrect dose given

3. Wrong medication given

N. 1-800-222-1222 is the nationwide toll-free number that will directly connect you with your regional poison control center.