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Poisoning Patient To Launch Prevention Website

Media Release

October 4, 2006

(Embargoed until 8.00am on Friday October 13, 2006)

Poisoning Patient To Launch Prevention Website

A three year old Auckland boy, severely poisoned by automatic dishwasher detergent, will join the Minister of Health on Friday October 13 to launch the first poisoning prevention website in Australasia.

Joshua Ward of Pukekohe will join the Honourable Pete Hodgson during a video-linked event (simultaneously held in Auckland and Dunedin) to unveil the new website. The site, developed by the National Poisons Centre, aims to educate caregivers, teachers and children about preventing poisonings.

Its launch marks the start of the Safekids Campaign – which will have a year-long focus on preventing Kiwi kids being poisoned . The Campaign is co-ordinated by Safekids New Zealand (the injury prevention service of Starship Children’s Health).

Joshua was severely injured and nearly died in October 2004 when he swallowed a highly caustic auto-dishwashing detergent. The damage to his oesophagus and larynx is so severe he is unable to eat normally. He is tube fed, has a tracheostomy, and requires 24-hour care and regular treatment.

In 2005 he became the catalyst for Safekids to call for a ban on the sale of highly caustic auto-dishwashing detergents here. A ban on the sale and marketing of products to the general public, with a pH of 12.5 or higher, comes into effect on July 1, 2007.

Joshua’s mother, Lara Ward, will be a guest speaker at the launch, which is jointly co-ordinated by Safekids, major sponsor Barfoot & Thompson and the National Poisons Centre, with support from the New Zealand TelePaediatric Service. While the launch event will have a poisons prevention focus, the year long campaign is also aimed at preventing children being injured in falls.

More than 150 preschool and primary school children will join Joshua and special guests for the events; including TV personalities (and Safekids Ambassadors) Suzy Cato and Pio Terei, Minister for the Environment the Honourable David Benson-Pope and CEO of ERMA New Zealand, Rob Forlong.

The launch events will be held at from 1.30pm (sharp) – 2.10pm on Friday October 13, 2006 at
• The Atrium, 2md Floor, Starship Children’s Health, Park Road, Grafton, Auckland
• Sacred Heart School, 63 North Road, North East Valley, Dunedin

Ends

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