Preventing Poisons In Your Home


  1. Poisoning from solids and liquids such as drugs, medicines, poisonous houseplants, cleaning products cause over 6000 deaths per year.
  2. An additional 500 deaths were due to poisonings from gases and vapors such as carbon monoxide.
  3. These deaths are not all among children and can affect any age group. Many adults are unintentionally poisoned when they do not follow label directions on medications or household chemicals.

You can keep yourself and family members safer by being aware of potential hazards and reading the following suggestions to poison proof your home.


  1. Have a “child-proof” cabinet that is able to be locked. Even if your medicine cabinet is high up, children are inquisitive and avid climbers. They can easily reach a cabinet by climbing the toilet to the sink and thus reach into the cabinet.
  2. Use child resistant caps and keep medication lids tightly closed.
  3. Never take medication in front of a child or refer to the pills as candy. Kids often mimic adults.
  4. Always follow the recommend dosage set forth by your doctor for all medications.
  5. Some mouthwashes contain enough alcohol to poison small children, consider alternative products.
  6. Some toilet bowl cleaners are dangerously caustic and capable of burning tissue if ingested.


  1. Mothballs and crystals should be hung in containers. If such products are used in closets or chests, they should be out of reach of toddlers.
  2. Keep personal care items such as hair spray, cologne, perfumes, nail polish remover, and astringents where children can’t get into them.

Living Room

  1. Peoples who may visit may carry medications in coat pockets, jackets, and purses all of which are perfect hunting grounds for a curious child. Hang garments and store purses where children are not likely to get at them.
  2. Children may be exposed to different lead sources in your home. Small children may chew on windowsills, eat paint chips, or suck on their hands or toys, exposing themselves to lead dust. Be sure that your home is lead safe.


  1. Check under the sink and in cabinets. Look for stored products that could be hazardous when accessible to young children. These include items such as bleaching agents, rust removers, drain cleaners, ammonia, oven cleaners, detergents, furniture polish, floor wax, metal polish, and wax remover. Even food extracts such as vanilla and almond are potential poisons. If products can’t be moved, install safety latches on cupboard doors to keep inquisitive youngsters out.
  2. Cleaning compounds and foods should never be stored together.
  3. Keep all substances in their original containers. Children or adults could mistake the contents of the container for a beverage. Labels on the original containers also give important usage and safety information.
  4. Keep potentially hazardous cleaning compounds capped. Do not leave an uncapped container unattended even “just a minute” if toddlers are present.

Additional Precautions

  1. Keep the numbers of your local prison control center or family doctor posted near the telephone. Have the original container and its label when you call.
  2. Keep syrup or ipecac available but use only when instructed to by a doctor or poison control center.
  3. Use safety latches or combination locks to prevent curious children from getting into cabinets and drawers.
  4. Properly dispose of unneeded or expired medicines. Look for the expiration date, out-of-date medications may be ineffective and/or dangerous.

Other Adults

  1. Request medicine labels to be printed in a larger type
  2. Make sure you are taking the medicine you intended: double-check the label, especially when you’re sleepy or sick.
  3. Avoid dosage errors, use dosage containers indicating day of week and/or time of day; don’t leave it to memory.
  4. If you’re taking two or more medications be sure to check with your pharmacist to avoid unexpected drug interactions.
  5. Consider a dedicated medicine storage area, even if there are no kids in the house.


  1. Poisonous anti-freeze tastes sweet to dogs and cats – clean up spills and leaks immediately and store carefully.
  2. Avoid feeding pets human foods, chocolate can poison and kill a dog. Onions are potentially harmful. Pets are healthier eating food specially formulated for what they need.
  3. Don’t spray or store cleaning or pesticide products near pet food or water dishes.
  4. In the event of a spill, be sure to keep animals out of the area until it’s cleaned up.