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Poison Prevention Week starts today with kids' safety in mind

Group urges parents to make sure household chemicals, medicines are stored where children can't find them

Children's safety groups are reminding parents to make sure that hazardous household chemicals and medicines are kept out of kids' hands during National Poison Prevention Week, which begins today.

Organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury released a checklist of tips for preventing unintentional poisoning in children and highlighted the likelihood of poisoning accidents occurring at home.

According to county officials, poison control centers receive 1.2 million calls annually for accidental poisoning emergencies, 90 percent of which happen at home. Half of those reported incidents involve non-pharmaceutical products such as cosmetics, cleansers, plants, art supplies and toys.

"It doesn't take much to make a small child sick," Safe Kids Monterey County coordinator Dave Crozier said in a statement. Numerous poison prevention tips can be found on Safe Kids' Web site, www.usa.safekids.org.

The group suggests identifying poisonous plants and materials around the home and ensuring they are kept inaccessible to kids, and parents should always keep handy the toll free poison control center number in case of emergency and even program it into cell phones. That number is (800) 222-1222.

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