Poison prevention tips

Keep all potentially poisonous products, like household cleaning products and medications, out of children’s sight and reach.

What is a poison?

Any substance that causes illness or harm if someone eats it, drinks it, touches it, or breathes it in.

What are some examples of a poison?

  • Alcohol
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) gas
  • Medications such as prescription (pain killers, antidepressants), over-the-counter (cough and cold medicines, allergy medicines), and illegal drugs (cocaine, heroin)
  • Food Supplements such as vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements
  • Cosmetic and Personal Care Products, such as nail polish remover, soap, makeup, hand sanitizer, deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, sunscreen, hydrogen peroxide, and cologne
  • Household Cleaning Products, such as bleach, laundry or dish detergent, wall/floor/tile cleaners, disinfectants, antifreeze, and gasoline
  • Pesticides, including rodenticides, insecticides, and herbicides
  • Other household items, such as batteries, cigarettes, toys, and glass
  • Plants, including many household plants, outdoor plants, and wild mushrooms
  • Bites and stings from animals such as snakes, scorpions, wasps, bees, and spiders
  • Environmental chemicals
  • Work-related chemicals

These tips can help prevent a poisoning

Household Poison Prevention Tips

  • Keep all potentially poisonous products, like household cleaning products and medications, out of children’s sight and reach.
  • Put child-resistant locks on drawers and cabinets containing harmful household products. This only takes a minute and gives you one less thing to worry about.
  • Store all household products and medications in their original containers with their original labels on them. Never put a potentially poisonous product in something other than its original container (like a plastic water bottle) where it could be mistaken for something else. 
  • Do not leave children alone with household cleaners or medications. When using a product, take children with you if you leave the room. Many poisonings happen when parents are distracted for a moment on the phone or answering the door.
  • Return all potentially poisonous products, like household products or medications, to safe storage, out of children’s sight and reach immediately after use. 
  • Buy products in child-resistant packaging, when available.
  • Store food and cleaners separately so one is not mistaken for the other.
  • Keep children away from any poisonous plants that may be in or around your home.
  • Watch children carefully when playing indoors and outdoors.
  • Post the number for the Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention (800) 222-1222 near all telephones in your home.

Medication Safety Prevention Tips

  • Keep all medications out of children’s reach and sight.
  • Read all medication labels carefully and follow the directions listed on the packaging.
  • Never refer to medication as candy.
  • Don’t use more medicine than is prescribed or recommended, even if someone is really sick. It will not make them feel better faster and may cause harm.
  • Compare active ingredients among medications. Make sure you do not give or take more than one medicine with the same active ingredient, because it puts you at risk for an overdose.

Carbon Monoxide Poison Prevention Tips

  • If you do not have a carbon monoxide alarm, please go out and buy one.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas.
  • Keep carbon monoxide alarms at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances.
  • Check to make sure the batteries are working in your alarms every time you switch the clocks for day light savings.
  • Replace carbon monoxide alarms every 5-7 years (unless they are a newer model with a 10-year sealed battery.)

Additional Resources

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