General Motors' Onstar a button away from Poison Control

By Joel Arellano | March 17, 2009
DETROIT - OnStar and Poison Control today announced a joint venture that will increase the safety and security of OnStar subscribers. The new relationship will give subscribers access to Poison Control for expert instructions and information on potential poisonings that may occur in or around their vehicles. With any poison related issue, speed of treatment is the most important factor followed by effectiveness of treatment. Nearly 75 percent of calls received by Poison Control can be handled over the phone. OnStar subscribers now have the added peace of mind that Poison Control is just a button press away should they encounter any type of poisoning situation in their vehicle. "Most drivers don't anticipate that an accident may not happen on the road but rather in their backseat," said Cathy McCormick, OnStar Emergency Services Manager. "OnStar currently receives about a call a day from subscribers who have specific questions relating to poisonings, and a majority of these calls concern children and pets. This partnership was developed to give subscribers access to Poison Control to assist them with these types of situations." According to Poison Control, children are the most likely victims of a poisoning accident in a vehicle. One of the possible risks associated with vehicles is a child getting access to a purse that contains medication or getting into grocery bags with household products. Poison Control also receives a large amount of calls concerning the silica gel packets that are commonly found in shoe boxes and other packaged goods.
Pets also are at risk in vehicles as they may gain access to automotive products such as oil and antifreeze or food items such as chocolate or nuts that can be extremely toxic. "As Americans spend more time in their cars, we're seeing an increase of poison-related accidents in vehicles," said Susan Smolinske, PharmD, medical director of the Children's Hospital of Michigan Poison Control Center, which will manage the relationship. "The car is not a controlled environment and drivers don't always consider the possible exposure to risks outside of the home." There is no additional fee to OnStar subscribers to contact Poison Control via their OnStar system; access to Poison Control is an extension of OnStar's emergency services line, included in the OnStar subscription that comes standard for one year on OnStar-equipped GM vehicles. "This partnership is one more example of how OnStar is there for our nearly 6 million subscribers when they need us most - in an emergency," said Steve Schwinke, OnStar Vice President of Service Line Management. "OnStar's comprehensive emergency and security services offers help in the event of a vehicle crash, severe weather crisis and now we can provide a vital link to poison management experts." About OnStar by GM OnStar, a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Motors, is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and communication services. OnStar is available on more than 50 MY 2009 GM models. OnStar is standard for one year on nearly all new GM retail vehicles in the United States and Canada. OnStar provides services to more than 5.5 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada. OnStar ranked at the top of the latest Consumer Telematics Vendor Matrix released by ABI Research in 2008. More information about OnStar can be found at About Children's Hospital of Michigan Children's Hospital of Michigan cares for children from birth to adolescence. The hospital has nearly 230 beds and is linked to the Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State University. The children's hospital also offers cardiology, critical care, emergency, oncology, rehabilitation, and respiratory services. Its emergency room treats more than 90,000 children every year, making it by far the busiest pediatric emergency department in Michigan. The department serves as the entry point to one of the nation's finest and most comprehensive pediatric referral centers. About Poison Control Poison control centers around the country are prepared to respond with information and treatment advice about poison exposures. To reach a local poison center call 1-800-222-1222. More information about poisoning prevention may be found on the AAPCC's Website at Press release via General Motors/Onstar