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Six in ten poisonings in children treated in Alberta Hospitals are from medications

More than 9,500 calls are received every year in Alberta relating to poisonings of children zero to five years of age.
As a means to raise awareness about the importance of properly disposing expired medication, Polaris Travel Clinic and Pharmacy is running a contest until June 24 to find
National Poison Prevention Week runs from March 17 to 23, focusing particularly of unintentional poisonings among children.

Alberta Blue Cross® and the Injury Prevention Centre are reminding Albertans of the dangers of medication poisoning during National Poison Prevention Week on March 17 to 23.

The two organizations are partnering to raise awareness of the dangers of unintentional poisoning — particularly medication poisoning amongst children.

Alberta Poison and Drug Information Services (PADIS) receives more than 9,500 calls every year relating to children zero to five years of age, according to a press release. That’s approximately 27 calls a day.

“We know that about six out of 10 child poisonings treated in Alberta children’s hospitals are related to medication,” said Dr. Kathy Belton, director of the Injury Prevention Centre based in the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health.

Of these poisonings, more than a third involve common pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

“With prevention in mind, we’re asking parents and caregivers to take a moment this week to ensure that all medications in their homes are locked and stored safely out of reach of little hands,” adds Brian Geislinger, senior vice-president of Corporate Relations and Community Engagement with Alberta Blue Cross. 

Part of the awareness campaign are tips for poison prevention:

  • Prevention starts with information — parents and caregivers must ensure they follow the medication amount and timing between doses stated on all medication labels. Review medication recommendations around storage, including temperature and location. 
  • Don’t leave medications unattended on bedside tables, kitchen counters or anywhere they can be accessed by children. Also be aware of medication visitors may have in their purses, coat pockets and bags. Ensure these are kept out of children’s reach.
  • Child-resistant containers are not childproof. Lock up items including medicine and vitamins as well as other potentially poisonous items such as household cleaning supplies and cannabis products in cupboards or boxes.
  • Never call medicine “candy.”

Their press release went on to say that Alberta Blue Cross and the Injury Prevention Centre have a long-standing partnership to support the wellness of Albertans through injury prevention education. This includes creating booklets for older adults on keeping well, staying active and preventing falls. 

For more information on medication poisoning prevention and free, downloadable resources, visit the Injury Prevention Centre website.

Alberta Blue Cross is the largest provider of health benefits in Alberta, and the Injury Prevention Centre has supported organizations, communities and individuals to take actions to reduce their risk of injury for over 20 years in Alberta.

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