COLORADO SPRINGS – March is Poison Awareness Month, and health leaders are urging people to learn how to prevent poisonings and what to do if it happens.

According to the Colorado Poison Center’s Quarter 1 Report, 11,508 human exposures were reported in 2019. Concurrently, over 18,000 calls were made to the Colorado Poison Center.

“In the pediatric realm, we two different types of poisoning or exposures, early age kind of accidental poisonings, where kids two three-four years of age get into things they shouldn’t be getting into at home,” said Associate Professor of Pediatrics Dr. Sam Wang. “Then we kind of see a bit of a drop as kids get older cause they know better and know not to do those things. Then as the adolescent population goes up, we see both unintentionally or recreational poisonings at that age. ”

As the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) explains, “more than 90 percent of the time, poisonings happen in people’s homes. The majority of these poisonings occur in the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. “

Although many people might relate poison to products like chemicals like antifreeze, gas, carbon monoxide, etc., seemingly safe products can also be extremely dangerous if misused.

Types of poison

  • Art supplies
  • Household cleaners
  • Food
  • Animals
  • Insect repellant
  • Plants

Poisonings can also happen unexpectedly. Not only can you be poisoned via swallowing, you can also be in danger if poison touches your skin, your eyes, or if it is inhaled.

Although the idea of ​​being poisoned is understandably terrifying, there is numerous way to reduce the chances of it happening.

The HRSA recommends the following:


  • Keep all medicines, and potentially poisonous substances, in locked cabinets or out of the reach of children.
  • Keep medicines in their original containers, properly labeled, and store them appropriately.

Carbon monoxide (CO)

  • Have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home. The best places for a CO detector are near bedrooms and close to furnaces.

Back to school and art supplies

  • Some art products are mixtures of chemicals. They can be dangerous if not used correctly. Make sure children use art products safely by reading and following directions.
  • Do not eat or drink while using art products.


  • Wash fruits and vegetables with running water.
  • Do not wash meat, poultry or eggs.

Plants, mushrooms, and berries

  • Be sure that everyone in your family can identify poisonous mushrooms and plants.
  • Call your local poison center to learn about common poisonous plants in your area.

Marijuana Poisonings

According to data by the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, 266 human exposure cases (male / female / unspecified; 125/139/2) involving marijuana were reported to the Colorado Poison Center in
2018.16 exposures involved pets for a total of 282 exposures.

Furthermore, 115 (43%) of the 266 human exposure cases involved an “edible” marijuana product such as marijuana-infused brownies, cookies, candies, beverages, etc. 55% of the 266 total human exposures involved children 0 to 18 years old.

Courtesy of Colorado Poison Center

According to Wang, health leaders saw a decline in poison center calls during the pandemic. However, as we enter year two of the COVID-19 pandemic, calls are starting to increase.

“We have seen an increase; you know more kids have been at home. Then, of course, the concerns of adolescent mental health have also increased poisonings that we’ve seen over the past couple years. ”

For more information about poisonings and how to prevent them, visit the links below.

Helpful links

Poison Center Helpline: 1 (800) 222-1222

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