Household Poisons: Out of Sight, Locked up Tight

Nine out of ten poisonings happen in our own homes. Poisons such as household cleaners, medicines and cosmetics can be spotted in nearly every room in the house. It’s important to lock up or store these items safely.


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    • Take the time to read all product labels to make sure you know which of your household products are poisonous for your children. This includes:
      • Cosmetics and personal care items (like nail polish remover, jewelry cleaner, mouthwash)
      • Medicine and vitamins
      • Laundry detergents and cleaning solutions (like bleach, carpet cleaner, furniture polish)
      • Alcohol
      • Plants
      • Car fluids
      • Bug and weed killers, fertilizers and plant food
      • Lighter fluid, kerosene, and torch fuel 
      • Batteries

    • Leave products in their original containers at all times so everyone knows what they are.
    • Keep all bottles and containers in sight while using products that are poisonous. If you can, try not to use them when children are around.
    • Install safety locks, latches and doorknob covers to keep children from opening drawers, cabinets, closets and doors to where poisonous products are stored. Don’t forget it’s not just the products inside your home but also those products in your garage or shed as well.
    • When poisonous products can’t be locked up, be sure to store them up and out of your child’s sight and reach.
    • Choose products with child-resistant packaging whenever possible.
    • Make sure to add the Poison Help line to your contacts, 1-800-222-1222. It’s one number worth having on speed dial! Also make sure to keep the number in a common place, like the fridge door, so that caregivers can easily see it.

    • Remember to keep all medicines and vitamins – for you or your pets – away from children. Check out our medicine safety article for more information.
    • Be sure to keep batteries and button battery-controlled devices out of your child’s sight and reach. If your child has toys that are powered by button batteries, make sure that the battery compartment is secure. For more on button batteries, go here.
    • Teach children not to put berries, flowers or plants in their mouths. You can also call the Poison Help line 1-800-222-1222 for a list of poisonous plants common to your area.
    • Be sure your family can identify dangerous plants such as poison oak, ivy and sumac. If someone touches one of these plants, rinse the area right away with soap and running water for at least 5 minutes.

    • If you suspect your child ingested something poisonous, call the Poison Help line, 1-800-222-1222.
    • Do NOT make them vomit; do not use ipecac or charcoal until you speak with someone at the Poison Help line or a medical professional.
    • If your child has any of following symptoms, call 911:
      • Seizures
      • Not breathing
      • Unconscious

Did You Know?

Each year, Poison Centers answer more than 1 million calls for children.

- Safe Kids Worldwide