By the President of the United States
For more than three decades, we Americans have observed National Poison Prevention Week as part of a concerted, nationwide campaign to reduce the number of accidental poisoning deaths among children. This annual observance, coupled with our year-round efforts in both the public and private sectors, has helped to save lives: during the past 30 years, the number of poisoning deaths among children under 5 years of age has declined markedly, from 450 in 1961 to 42 in 1988.
This "success story" certainly merits celebration. However, because the loss of even one child is more than any family can bear and more than our Nation should tolerate, we must continue to alert the public about the need for poison prevention.
Leading that effort today is the Poison Prevention Week Council, a coalition of 37 national organizations that are determined to protect the health and safety of our most vulnerable citizens. The Council, which embodies our public-private partnership for poison prevention, coordinates the annual observance of National Poison Prevention Week. It also distributes lifesaving information and encourages local poison control centers, pharmacies, health departments, and other agencies to conduct poison prevention programs. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, which each year provides a member to serve as Secretary of the Poison Prevention Week Council, helps to direct this important public health campaign to prevent childhood poisonings. It is a truly national effort, enlisting the help of parents, health professionals, educators, and government officials, as well as members of industry and the media.
Poison prevention awareness has saved lives, but there is more to do. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that almost 1 million children are exposed each year to potentially poisonous medicines or household chemicals. We must continue to warn parents, grandparents, and other adults about the threat of childhood poisoning and encourage them to adopt safety measures. We can take a simple yet vital step to prevent accidental poisonings by using child-resistant closures and by keeping medicines and household chemicals out of the reach of children.
To encourage all Americans to learn more about the dangers of accidental poisonings and to take more preventative measures, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved September 26, 1961 (75 Stat. 681), has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation designating the third week of March of each year as National Poison Prevention Week.
Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week beginning March 15, 1992, as National Poison Prevention Week. I call upon all Americans to observe this week by participating in appropriate programs and activities and by learning how to prevent accidental poisonings among children.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixteenth.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 12:18 p.m., November 12, 1991]