When it comes to calling the Illinois Poison Center (IPC), I have heard parents say, “I would have called but I didn’t want to look like a bad parent,” or “I am afraid you will report me to the DCFS?” I’ve heard this refrain from young mothers, Facebook followers and even a public official; many parents are afraid to contact our free, confidential medical service for fear of being labeled a “bad” parent.
As an emergency physician and toxicologist, and the father of two children, I understand on a personal and professional level, that children can and do get into everything. In the time it takes you to turn around, a small child can swallow a battery or drink your eye drops. In fact, close to 49 percent of all calls to the IPC are regarding children 5 years of age and under.
At the IPC, we have a top-notch team of physicians, pharmacists, nurses and specially trained poison experts available 24 hours per day seven days per week to provide treatment advice on poison exposures. This skilled staff manages 90 percent of calls at home without referral to a health care facility. We do not report parents to authorities; that’s not our job. Our job is to ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones by providing access to comprehensive treatment advice.
I know the overwhelming feelings of anxiety and fear when something may be wrong with your child- panic ensues and your thoughts often turn to the worst case scenario. In that stressful moment when you discover your child in the medicine cabinet or playing with household chemicals or other potentially hazardous substances, I’m encourage you to call the IPC at 1-800-222-1222 to for free, confidential treatment advice for your child.
Dr. Michael Wahl.
Illinois Poison Center