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Poison Prevention Tips to Keep Your Children Safe

Katrina Wharton |10, November 2014


Each year over a million children are poisoned, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Most if not all of these could be prevented with proper precautions. Typically, poisonings take place when parents or caregivers are present in the home, but distracted. A particular time of risk is when there is a change in the routine of the home, perhaps visiting someone else or others visiting for the holidays.


  • Store your medicine in locked cabinets, out of children's reach.
  • Make certain you keep medicines in their original labeled containers.
  • Monitor use of medication by children, such as older kids who take ADHD medicines, for instance.
  • Never try to get a child to take medicine by enticing them that the medicine is candy.
  • Ask the pharmacy for child safety caps on drugs and medications, to help prevent poisonings.
  • Safely discard unused medications, or expired medications.

Household Chemicals

One big mistake many families make is to store chemicals in a different container, so poisonous or toxic materials will not be properly labeled.

  • Always store materials in the original bottle or container.
  • Never keep chemicals near food products.
  • Ensure that the place where poisonous materials are stored are appropriate, for instance stored at a proper temperature and away from anything that might ignite them.
  • Keep anything potentially dangerous in a place or cabinet a child cannot access.
  • Teach children about poisons and warn them about the dangers.
  • Be especially careful about leaving a hazardous product out on a counter or somewhere and leaving the area, for even a moment.

Hazards You Might Not Know or Forget About

Eye drops. Many people aren't aware that these can be fatal if swallowed in high enough amount. Even a tiny amount can harm a small child.

Medications carried in a purse. Lots of times we carry our medicines in our purses and don't keep them out of a child's reach.

Know what plants in your home may be toxic. Keep those out of a child's reach.

Don't forget that make up, cleansers and other personal care items may be dangerous to small children.

Be careful with art products, or home repair products. Many of these contain lead or other hazardous ingredients.

Watch out of dishwasher detergent or laundry products that may be forgotten and left in a child's reach.

Watch vitamins carefully. Many children like the taste and will try to gobble up more if you aren't watching.

Keep alcohol and alcoholic drinks out of any children's reach and don't leave any unused portions even in a child's line of sight.

Never leave cigarettes or butts where a child can get to them.

Look to see if mouthwash contains alcohol, as it can be toxic to a child who ingests it.

Even food extracts such as vanilla can be harmful to a child, so be careful during baking times when you may be busy, such as the holidays.

Electronic cigarettes are dangerous to children, as well.

Be careful with button cell batteries, like those used in watches. Children have swallowed these and they can be quite dangerous.

Be Prepared

Write out the poison control phone number in bold clear writing and post on a convenient and easy to see place, such as the refrigerator. Make sure everyone in the home, including relatives or babysitters know where it is posted.

Post your doctor's number as well, along with your numbers for any caregivers to have easy access to. It's a good idea to also write out the home's address, in case someone else needs to give it so emergency help can arrive.

Have a first aid kit ready and supplied, as well as easy to find.

Know these basic poisoning procedures:

  • Call 911 if the victim is unconscious.
  • Call poison control is the child is awake and responsive.
  • Have the following information ready: child's age and weight, the time of the ingestion or exposure to the poison, and the bottle of the substance so you can read the label or ingredients to the poison control operator.

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