The Poisons Information Helpline provides tips to prevent paediatric poisonings this festive season
As the festive season approaches, there are several poisoning dangers to be aware of, particularly with regards to children.
Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital (RCWMCH) and the Tygerberg Hospital (TBH) Poisons Information Centres are home to the national Poisons Information Helpline which has been in operation since 2015.
The Poisons Information Helpline runs on a 24/7 basis, providing immediate support and guidance to help parents, caregivers and health workers recognise poisoning symptoms and how to treat emergency cases.
The Poisons Information Helpline which is run by a total of 14 clinicians and pharmacists, take up to 13,600 calls per year and over 1,100 calls per month.
Dr Cindy Stephen, Director of the Poisons Information Centre at RCWMCH shares why poisonings increase during the festive season, “in holiday time, being out of our normal routine, we must take extra care to ensure that medicines and chemicals are stored safely away from children. The warmer summer months also mean that more snakes, spiders and scorpions are active and the incidence of envenomations increases markedly.”
Combined, RCWMCH and TBH saw over 2,500 poisoning cases in December 2022 and January 2023.
Carine Marks, Director of the Poisons Information Centre at TBH encourages parents to be aware during the holiday season, "stay vigilant this festive season! With children at higher risk, poisoning dangers loom—medication mishaps, pesticide exposures, and stings top the list.”
Medication overdose, pesticides or household product exposure, and bites or stings, are the main reasons for health workers or members of the public calling the Poisons Information Helpline.
To safeguard your family this festive season, take note of these valuable lifesaving tips:
Remember to add the 24/7 Poisons Information Helpline number 0861 555 777 to your contact list in case of poisoning emergencies!