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Tips to Keep Your Family Safe by Preventing Accidental Poisonings at Home

Mar 21, 2022

Tips to Keep Your Family Safe by Preventing Accidental Poisonings at Home

Tips to keep your family safe by preventing accidental poisonings at home

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there is a poison exposure reported every 15 seconds, with 93% of cases occurring in homes. To help spread awareness during National Poison Prevention week, our experts have put together some helpful tips to keep your family safe from accidental poisonings at home.

Cosmetics and personal care items

The highest number of calls to poison control centers are about children under the age of 6 being exposed to cosmetic and personal care products. Items such as hand sanitizer, perfume, toothpaste and hair spray tend to be used frequently, so they may not be safely put away. Young children are usually big imitators and are likely to want to explore the things they see parents and caregivers using.

How to keep kids safe from these items:

  • Keep products in their original packaging or containers to avoid mix-ups.
  • Be careful to put away all cosmetic and personal care items after each use.
  • Store them in places that are out of sight and reach for children. Keep in mind that kids can and will climb to get what they want, so just storing up high may not be enough. Consider keeping these items in a lockable cabinet or install a child-resistant lock.
  • Work with kids to help them understand not to touch, taste or smell items without the permission of an adult.

Cleaning products

Hundreds of thousands of accidental poison exposures happen to both children and adults each year due to cleaning products. Because of their powerful chemical ingredients, it is vital that these items be stored and handled with the utmost care.

How to avoid poisoning incidents with cleaning products:

  • Store these items in a locked cabinet that is up high and out of reach for children.
  • Keep them in their original containers. Never put cleaning products in old food containers.
  • Store cleaning products in a different area than food and drink items to avoid mix-ups with look-a-like products.
  • Fully read and follow directions and warnings on the product’s label. Be sure to wear any recommended protective gear when handling.
  • Never mix products together as doing so can result in noxious fumes.
  • Open windows and doors to ensure proper ventilation when using cleaning products.
  • Keep a close eye on children when using cleaning products. Use it as a teaching moment for the proper use of these items.

If you have children under the age of 6 in your home, it is highly recommended that you use only liquid or powder laundry and dishwasher detergents. The bright colors and packaging of liquid pods look very similar to candy, making it difficult for young children to distinguish between the two.


Accidental medicine poisonings happen to people of all ages. Pain medications in particular have devastating effects, especially in pediatric cases. Ensure all medicine, whether prescription or over the counter, is stored in its original container in a locked cabinet out of reach of children.

How to avoid accidental medicine poisonings:

  • Ensure that all purses and bags containing medications that enter your home are secured out of reach of children.
  • Remember that just because a lid is child-resistant does not mean your child will not be able to open it.
  • Never tell a child that medicine tastes like candy, even when you’re trying to get them to take it.
  • Consult the dosage label before each dose is taken or given using only the included device to administer liquid medication.
  • Never prepare, give or take medicine in the dark to avoid using the wrong medication or wrong dosage.

Plants, batteries and other hazardous items

Several things around your home are not obvious dangers but still pose a threat.

  • Some plants can be poisonous when ingested, so it’s a good idea to keep plants out of reach of children and pets. Teach kids to never eat plants they find inside or outside.
  • Button batteries like the ones found in watches, key fobs and other small devices can cause major damage to the body in less than two hours if ingested.
  • Multivitamins, especially those that contain iron, can be toxic to children. Treat them like any other medication and store well out of reach.
  • All alcohol should be stored high up in a locked cabinet to avoid accidental exposure. If you have a party with children in attendance, all beverages containing alcohol should be closely monitored and kept out of reach.
  • All tobacco and nicotine products including gum, patches, chewing tobacco and e-cigarette liquid can be highly toxic if ingested, so these should also be stored in child-proof locations.

What to do if a poisoning occurs

If the individual who has a poison exposure collapses, is unconscious, has a seizure or is having trouble breathing, call 911 and seek medical care immediately.

If you think a child or other loved one has been exposed to a poison but is not currently showing symptoms or symptoms are mild, call Poison Help at 800.222.1222. Poison centers are open 24/7 year round including holidays and are staffed by highly trained specialists. They can help you determine next steps and if the exposed individual needs emergency or non-emergency care.

If you or a loved one needs non-emergency care after a possible poison exposure, Midwest Express Clinics are here to help. We can also advise you on other measures you can take to avoid accidental poisonings, especially those related to medication dosage. Check in online at one of our convenient locations today!

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