Young children are curious and like to put things in their mouth. Ordinary products
used by adults each day around the home can become dangerous poisons in the hands
of a child. The National Safety Council estimates that that more than half of the
poisonings that happen each year are in children younger than 6 years old. Poisoning
has become the leading cause of accidental death. More people die from poisoning than
from motor vehicle accidents.
Post the poison control center phone number where you can easily see it. Or program
it into your phone. The universal phone number in the U.S. is 800-222-1222. Calls
are routed to your local poison control center.
Teach your child about poisons at an early age.
Buy and store all medicine, vitamins, and household products in child-resistant packaging.
Remember that child-resistant doesn't mean childproof.
Store medicines, vitamins, iron supplements, household cleaners, detergent pods, toiletries,
paints, varnishes, thinners, pesticides, and fertilizers in a locked cabinet. Make
sure they are in their original, labeled containers. Use safety latches for drawers
and cabinet doors.
Never store nonfood products in food or drink containers, even when re-labeled. Children
may not be able to read the label.
Throw out any expired medicines. Follow the instructions that came with the medicines
for how to throw them away. If there are no instructions, most medicines can be taken
out of their original container and thrown in the trash. Or you can take them to a
medicine take-back program in your community. Ask your pharmacist if you aren't sure
how to dispose of a medicine.
Alcohol is poisonous to children. Never give a child an alcoholic beverage to drink—not
even in small amounts. Store alcoholic beverages out of your child's reach.
Keep tobacco products, matches, lighters, and ashtrays out of your child's reach.
Know your household and outdoor plants by name. Keep poisonous plants away from your
Crawl through your rooms and put yourself at eye level, checking every place your
children may go on their hands and knees. Be sure to properly throw away anything
that could be harmful.
Don't take medicine in front of your child. Children are great imitators. Don't tell
your child that medicine is candy in order to get your child to take it.
Read labels thoroughly every time you give medicine. Many children are accidentally
poisoned when given the wrong medicine or the wrong dose. Mistakes often occur in
the middle of the night, so be sure to turn on a light when giving medicine.
Read labels on all products you buy before you buy or use them. Buy products that
are the least poisonous ones for the job.
Be careful when visiting others, staying in hotels, or having visitors in your home.
Purses and suitcases are inviting objects for children to explore.
When answering the phone or doorbell, take poisonous products that you're using with
you. Don't make them available to your child for even a moment.
Be careful with items that contain small button batteries. These include remote controls,
toys, and key fobs. The batteries can cause injury if a child swallows them.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission requires safety caps on a variety of commonly
used household products.