More than 50% of all poisonings by children under the age
of five occur at home
Poisonings kill about 30 children annually and cause 1
million calls to poison centers
Is your child at risk? By learning how to keep your children
safe from common household products these poisonings can be prevented.
Here are some steps in preventing poisonings:
Keep common household chemicals and medicines out of sight
and out of the reach of children. Use special toddler locks for kitchen counters
and store cleaners and medicines on higher shelves whenever possible.
Ask your pharmacist for child-proof containers and never
take your medicine in front of your children.
Discard all old medications by flushing them down the toilet.
Do not throw pills in a trash can.
Read and follow directions on all household chemicals. Mixing
some chemicals together can create a toxic chlorine gas or chloramines. Label
your products accordingly and know what is toxic. Make sure that when using
chemicals, you are in a well-ventilated area and wearing proper protective
Remember that indoor and outdoor plants can be poisonous
to children. Find out which plants are poisonous and remove them from your
Use "Mr. Yuk" stickers on all your poisonous products.
Teach your kids never to touch a product with a Mr. Yuk sticker on it.
Teach your children to ask an adult before putting anything
in their mouths.
Have all gas appliances checked regularly for leakage and
Always store chemicals in their original containers.
Do not remove labels from old medication bottles and do
not mix medications together.
Do not take medications that are expired or intended for
Use extra caution during mealtimes or when the family routine
is disrupted. Many poisonings take place during these times.
Syrup of Ipecac is an essential medication in the home of
every adult. This syrup induces vomiting in children and adults in the event
of a poisoning. Never give Ipecac syrup, activated charcoal, Epsom salts or
anything else to treat your child unless you have spoken to a poison control
Discuss poison proofing with your children's caretakers.
Keep the telephone number of your local Poison Control Center
on or near your telephone.
Household poisons include:
Medicines of all kind
Iron pills and pain relievers
Cosmetics and personal care products
Pesticides, including law and garden chemicals
Household and auto maintenance supplies
Carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas that can be
produced by automobile exhaust, improperly working furnaces, gas-fueled hot
water heaters, wood stoves or charcoal burned indoors
Improperly stored or prepared foods
Plants and wild mushrooms
Seasonal candies or plants. During winter holidays, avoid
decorating with holly or mistletoe berries. At Halloween, discard non-commercial
treats such as fruits and homemade goods and make sure wrappers are intact.
Tips to avoid food poisoning:
Wash counter tops, utensils and hands with warm, soapy water
before and after preparing food.
Thaw meat and poultry in the refrigerator, not at room temperature.
Avoid leaving perishable food outside the refrigerator for
more than two hours.
Don't use canned foods with bulging lids or cracks.
Thoroughly cook all meat, poultry, seafood and eggs.
Keep picnic foods in an ice chest or cooler, out of direct
sunlight, until serving time.
Physical symptoms of poisoning may include:
Chest or abdominal pain
Changes in Consciousness
Burns around the lips, tongue or on the skin
What to do
If you suspect someone has been poisoned, find out:
Why type of poison it was
How much was taken
When it was taken
Follow these guidelines if you suspect someone has been poisoned:
Check the scene to make sure it is safe to approach and
gather clues about what happened. If necessary, move the victim from the source
Check the victim's level of consciousness, breathing and
Care for any life-threatening conditions.
If the victim is conscious, ask questions to get information.
Look for any containers and taken them with you to the telephone.
Call your Poison Control Center or local emergency number.
Follow the directions of the Poison Control Center or EMS dispatcher.