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No ties on Father?s Day. Just a thanks to Dad for calling the Poison Center

June 15, 2010

Seattle, Washington - It's a good thing Mr. Yuk is around when trouble finds its way into the home of an unsuspecting dad. Luckily for thousands of dads that have needed help, the Poison Information Specialists at the Washington Poison Center (WAPC) have remained a free phone call away.

In 2009, just over 6,000 fathers called the Poison Hotline, 1-800-222-1222, in need of information to help their children. Dads calling the Poison Center account for 9% of the total calls of human exposures. This year is looking to be on a similar track of calls from fathers to the WAPC.

"As a father myself, I know how hard it can be to manage the house," said Jim Williams, Executive Director of the Washington Poison Center. "What all dads need to remember is whatever just happened, it is likely another dad has recently called the Poison Center for it, too."

The top substances fathers have recently called the WAPC for are: medications, cosmetic/personal care products, household cleaning products and foreign bodies.

"I panicked," said Devon McCollum of Kent and 39-year-old father of a 4 -year-old son. "We were preparing our elderly cat's medication, which gets dissolved in water and put in a syringe. The next thing I knew, my 3-year-old son, Matthew is spitting something out and telling me how disgusting it tasted. I saw the empty syringe of cat medication nearby."

When his son was born, McCollum programmed the number for Poison Control into his cell phone which he used to dial for help the day his son ingested the cat medication.

"I got an expert on the line who told me the cat medicine wouldn't be harmful this one time," recalls McCollum. "I was told Matthew would be pretty drowsy, but it wasn't an emergency room visit or stomach pump situation. Sure enough, the kid was out like a light with no other side effects. Thank goodness someone was able to help us so quickly and we were able to avoid an unnecessary 9-1-1 call. The specialist also calmed my nerves because I knew they were experts and had great credibility."

Every dad should have easy access to the Poison Hotline toll-free number, 1-800-222-1222. McCollum recommends all fathers program the number into their cell phone "just in case." Displaying the Mr. Yuk stickers and/or magnets in your home is also an easy way to keep the number within reach. To get stickers and magnets for your home, call the WAPC at 1-800-222-1222 and ask ? it does not have to be an emergency to call.

"Don't be afraid, or hesitate to give our experts a call," Williams said. "Just remember many fathers have been in a similar position and called the WAPC during a difficult situation."

Calls to the Poison Center are free and confidential (a $30 credit card fee will apply to calls regarding animals). Services are available for non-English speakers and for the deaf and hearing impaired. For more information, visit

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