Tucked away above the emergency room on the campus of UTMB, the Southeast Texas Poison Center has been offering calm counsel for 50 years, wrote Maureen Balleza of UTMB’s Office of Public Affairs. “The staff of experts provides assistance 24 hours a day at no charge. ‘Nothing is really routine,’ center director Jon Thompson said. ‘Each phone encounter is a special event.’ From panicked parents to paramedics on the scene, the center handles an average of 250 calls per day. More than half the calls involve children age 5 and younger, and most of those are about toddlers 2 and younger. Calls peak in the evening as parental distractions, such as answering the door or cooking dinner, reduce vigilance. From opening childproof caps and cupboards, to finding a way to scale cabinets, young children can get into poison in an instant.”

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