Poison Prevention

According to Safe Kids USA more than 100 children under the age of 14 die annually as a result of accidental poisoning. Many of these victims are children, doing what comes naturally: being curious.

Poisons abound in most homes. You probably bring about 400 toxic products into your home each year. Some are obvious, such as paint, household cleaners, art supplies and solvents. These types of products account for 56 percent of poisonings in kids under age 5. Others — such as some vitamins, which can erode holes in the stomach of a child who eats too many — may seem harmless, but aren’t. By following these tips, you can prevent a poisoning scare or tragedy. Prescription medication is becoming a risk to children and is causing a significant number of deaths. Keep all medication, prescription or not, out of reach and avoid carrying any medication in areas that are easily accessible to children like coat pockets or handbags.


Syrup of ipecac is a drug that was used in the past to make children vomit after they had swallowed a poison. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends that Syrup of ipecac no longer be used as a home treatment strategy.

In case of poisoning, parents should always contact the Drug and Poison Information Center at 1-800-222-1222 for information. Do not follow the first-aid instructions on any container, as this information often is inaccurate and outdated. Parents should call 9-1-1 if the child experiences convulsions, stops breathing or becomes unconscious.



Children between the ages of 18 months and 3 years are most at risk for poisoning, so be extra cautious. Repeat offenders tend to be boys.

Don’t have a false sense of security. Just because your oldest child never got into things doesn’t mean the younger one won’t. Even if your household has gone for years without an incident, don’t let down your guard.

Remind grandparents to baby-proof their house before young ones visit.

Stay aware of your family’s situation. Stress, so common in families with young children, is definitely associated with injury. When you’re under stress, you may not pay as much attention to safety concerns. Take extra precautions if your family is experiencing one of these stress factors:

Another way to ensure your family’s safety is to support poison prevention efforts. Poison centers conduct public education campaigns and offer free advice. In addition, many manufacturers are improving safety closures and trying to prevent accidental poisonings by giving certain products unpleasant odors that will be offensive to children.

Poison prevention not only saves lives, it saves money. Through screening and expert advice, poison centers help ensure that medical facilities are used as efficiently and effectively as possible. For more information, contact the Drug and Poison Information Center toll-free at 1‑800‑222‑1222.

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