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National Poison Prevention Week: 8 Tips to Stay Safe on the Lawn

Avoidance of pesticides is the surest way to keep children safe.

Avoidance of pesticides is the surest way to keep children safe.

In recognition of National Poison Prevention Week beginning Sunday, March 18, the SafeLawns Foundation is joining the Environmental Protection Agency and numerous other agencies in urging parents to take extra steps around their homes to reduce the more than 150,000 calls to poison centers involving pesticides and disinfectants.

In just the past year, America’s 57 poison control centers fielded approximately four million calls, treating 2.4 million human poison exposures. Pesticides — weed and insect killers and fungicides — cause a significant number of the worst cases. More than half of pesticide exposures involved children age 5 or younger.

To reduce this exposure to the most vulnerable population, here are eight steps to follow:

1) Avoid using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers on lawns and gardens. Numerous safer, natural alternatives exist that work well and are more cost competitive than ever before.

2) Even with natural or organic products, always completely read the label and follow all safety instructions with regard to application and storage.

3) Never leave open and/or unused products unattended with children around.

4) Even if the label does not indicate doing so, consider locking away unused products in child-safe containers or at least far out of reach.

5) Prior to a pesticide application, be sure to move all toys, picnic tables and other objects that children might be drawn toward.

6) Understand that some organic, natural products may be toxic to children and pets.

7) Avoid using soda bottles, pails, cups or spray bottles when applying pesticide products; these can easily be mistaken by children as safe to drink from or touch.

8 ) Keep the Poison Control Centers’ national helpline number, 1-800-222-1222, near your phone. Program the number into your phone’s “address book” or redial feature.

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

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