Preventing Household Poisonings
Almost all poisonings happen in homes, and more than half involve children younger
than age 6.
The following steps can help you prevent a poisoning in your home:
Never leave small children alone in a room with cleaning, cosmetic, or medical
products. A child can quickly and easily pull allergy pills from a purse or a
drain cleaner from a grocery bag.
Keep alcohol and tobacco products out of reach. Both can cause long-term physical
damage or death if swallowed by a child.
Keep medications, vitamins, and herbal remedies put away. Vitamin pills that
contain iron can kill a child. Many medications are mildly to highly toxic. Some
like heart medication, blood thinners, chemotherapeutic agents, and others, can
kill a child.
Be sure you give a child the right dose of the right medication. Overdosing
can cause serious reactions.
Remove poisonous plants. Caladium, castor bean plant (one bean can kill a child),
elephant's ear, philodendron, mistletoe, holly, and dieffenbachia can cause skin
irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, and other side effects if eaten by
Check gas-powered appliances regularly for carbon monoxide leaks and make sure
you have working carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
Check for hazards
Check these locations in your home for dangerous products. Store the following poisonous
Garage. Antifreeze, windshield cleaner, gasoline, charcoal lighter, pesticides,
fertilizers, garden chemicals, fungicides, and flea and pest powder.
Bedrooms. Cosmetics, cologne, hair spray, nail polish and remover, mothballs,
medications, and vitamins.
Bathroom or laundry room. Pine oil, drain and toilet cleaners, bleach, disinfectants,
detergents, and aerosol sprays.
Kitchen. Insect killer, metal polish, alcohol, dishwashing detergent, and oven
Home workshop. Solder, lead, cadmium, formaldehyde, solvents, paint, and paint
Cover your bases
Don't rely on just 1 poison control measure. For safety's sake:
Store harmful products out of sight and reach.
Keep products in their original containers. For example, never store bleach or
toxic liquids in milk bottles.
Use products only for their intended purposes.
In an emergency
If your child swallows a poison:
Call 911 or your local emergency number, or a poison control center: 800-222-1222.
Read the label of the swallowed product to the medical specialist.
Follow the instructions of the medical personnel exactly. Don't make your
child throw up. Vomiting can cause further damage if lye, dishwashing detergents,
drain cleaners, paint thinners, and certain other substances were swallowed.