Accidental Poisoning

More than 90 percent of poisonings happen at home, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The American Association of Poison Control Centers says about half of the calls that poison centers receive involve children younger than age six. Medications, cleaning supplies, antifreeze, paint thinners, gasoline, pesticides and alcohol are among the items best kept locked up and/or away from children for their own safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Family Physicians suggest the following recommendations to make your home safe:


  • Put medicines in containers with safety caps and store all medicines in a locked cabinet. Keep toothpaste, soap, shampoo and other everyday items in a different place from dangerous products.
  • Take your medicine out of sight so children don’t try to copy you. Don’t call medicine candy which can be confusing to children.
  • Check the label each time before giving medicine to ensure the right amount is given, especially in the middle of the night.
  • Dispose of extra or expired medicines. Find a drug collection program in your area instead of flushing medicines down the toilet or pouring them down the drain which can contaminate the water supply.


  • Put paint, paint thinners, pesticides, fertilizers and similar items in a locked cabinet so children can’t get into them.
  • Check coal, kerosene and wood appliances to make sure they are operating correctly.


  • Lock cabinets that contain medicines, cleaners, furniture polish, lye, dishwashing soap and other dangerous products.
  • Use a safety lock/latch when you keep any of these poisonous items under your sink.

Accidental Poisoning Whole house

  • Install carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms and check them frequently to make sure they are working properly. Your local fire department can recommend how many devices your house requires and the best places to put them.

For more information on preventing accidental poisoning in your home, talk with your doctor or visit Premier Health to find a physician.

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