By the President of the United States of America
Keeping families healthy is an integral part of strengthening our Nation's future. It is the cornerstone in America's efforts to provide security for every one of our citizens. Yet, in this great Nation of wisdom and unparalleled potential, the American Association of Poison Control Centers estimates that almost one million American children are exposed to potentially poisonous medicines and household chemicals each year. This single statistic is appalling, but it is also correctable, for we are certain in the knowledge that accidental poisonings are preventable. This week, we recognize that it is one of our duties as a society to do everything in our power to prevent injuries and deaths caused by poisoning.
As the United States observes the 33rd National Poison Prevention Week, we are able to celebrate some small, but significant, triumphs. That the number of childhood deaths from poisoning annually has declined from 450 to 49 over the past thirty years is a testament to the dedicated efforts of countless citizens actively involved with poison control programs across the country. National requirements of child-resistant packaging for medicines have helped to limit dangerous exposure. Poison control centers, pharmacies, and public health centers have worked together to distribute vital information regarding poison prevention to our families and communities, and these measures have, indeed, saved lives.
If we are to end the tragedy of childhood poisonings once and for all, we must continually remind ourselves to take the basic steps necessary to prevent this occurrence in our own homes. Safety measures, such as using child-resistant packaging correctly and keeping potentially harmful substances out of children's reach, can mean the difference between health and injury, between life and death. During this week, we must seek to educate ourselves and others about all the ways we can work to avoid this kind of senseless loss. America's parents must take primary responsibility for this effort. Our Nation's children deserve no less.
To encourage the American people to learn more about the dangers of accidental poisonings and to take more preventive measures, the Congress, by 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, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week beginning March 20, 1994, as National Poison Prevention Week. I call upon all Americans to observe this week by participating in appropriate ceremonies and activities and by learning how to prevent accidental poisonings among children.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighteenth.
William J. Clinton
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 4:17 p.m., March 1, 1994]