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Davis Journal

University of Utah Health Department Poison Prevention Contest

Feb 15, 2024 10:09AM ● By Kate Pearson Davis Journal intern

Poison is a more serious threat than most people realize. Every day people are surrounded by poisons. They are found in closets, purses, toys, etc. Children are particularly likely to ingest something poisonous. There are many horror stories stemming from a child swallowing detergent because the package is bright and colorful. Children also swallow batteries because they are easy to fit into their little mouths. Many parents have walked in on their children making “potions” out of cleaning and cosmetic supplies.

National Poison Prevention Week is coming up March 17-23. As this week draws nearer, the University of Utah Health Department is holding a competition for those in grades K-12. There is a K-12 competition to make a video describing poison dangers to friends. Share some tips about how to avoid these dangers. There can be up to four people in a video. There is also a poster competition for K-4. Draw a picture or make a poster showing poison dangers or draw a tip to stay safe from poisoning. Both competitions need to include The Poison Helpline number (1-800-222-1222) and The Poison Help logo. Submissions are due Feb. 20. Winners may receive a cash prize and an opportunity to explore the Capitol.

To avoid accidental poisonings, it is important to identify potential risks around the house. Children who swallow batteries usually find them in battery-powered devices. For prevention, keep these devices out of children’s reach and make sure the battery compartments are tightly sealed. Keep any cosmetics, cleaning supplies, medications, and detergents out of reach of children, whether they are locked up or placed high, in hard-to-reach places.

Poison is also a danger to adults. Make sure not to share prescription medications. Take the recommended dose for any over-the-counter medications. Cleaning supplies and cosmetics are also a danger. Don’t ingest anything or bring anything to the eyes unless it is used for that purpose.

In addition to household dangers, there are also outside dangers as well. These include insect and animal bites and plants to avoid. Prevention for animal and insect dangers includes wearing shoes outside, avoiding wild animals, wearing bug spray, and being aware of your surroundings. If bitten by a snake or wild animal or in case of a severe reaction to a bug bite, seek medical attention immediately. Be wary of plant life in the area. Make sure children don’t ingest anything unknown or put leaves, bark, sticks, berries, etc. in their mouths. Keep poisonous plants out of the household. Make sure you can identify poisonous plants in your area. Common examples include Philodendron, Jimson Weed, Dumb Cane, Foxglove, Virginia Creeper, Stinging Nettle, and Baneberry.

For more information on the contest, visit the University of Utah’s poison prevention website at