What is National Poison Prevention Week?

More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to poison centers all across the nation, and more than 90 percent of these poisonings occur in the home. Since 1962, the President of the United States has proclaimed the third week of March as National Poison Prevention Week to raise awareness about the dangers of poisonings and how to prevent them.

The Oregon Poison Center would like to remind you that this is the time to protect you and your family members from unintentional poisonings.

What is a poison?

A poison is something that can be harmful if swallowed, spilled on the skin, splashed in the eyes or breathed in. Children are frequently confused about what a poison is. They may know that poisons are “bad” but children do not know that something sweet smelling or sweet tasting can also be a poison.

Below are some examples of potential poisons.


  • Pain or fever relievers
  • Cough and cold preparations
  • Pills for depression or heart disease

Cleaners for home, car, and clothes:

  • Toilet cleaners and drain openers
  • Laundry detergents and bleach
  • Kerosene, gasoline and lamp oils
  • Antifreeze and windshield washer fluids

Four tips to prevent poisoning:

  • Lock up all poisons whenever possible.
  • Know that child-resistant caps are NEVER childproof.
  • Remember: Adults are often victims of accidental poisonings.
  • Label dangerous products with Mr. Yuk stickers to help kids “stay away” from poisons. Find out more about the Mr. Yuk poison warning symbol here.

For more tips, hazard alerts and news, visit the Oregon Poison Center website or the American Association of Poison Control Centers website. Remember, the Poison Center is open 24 hours, seven days a week, and we’re here to help you with poisonings and poison prevention. In the case of an emergency, you should always contact your poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or 911 emergency services.

Tonya Drayden, RN, MSN, CSPI
Public Education Coordinator
Oregon Poison Center, OHSU