Children can get very sick if they are poisoned. Children age 1-3 are at highest risk.

Young children may put anything in their mouths. This is part of learning Many household products can be poisonous if swallowed, if in contact with the skin or eyes, or if inhaled.

Common Examples

Medicines: Vitamins and minerals, cold medicine, allergy and asthma medicine, ibuprofen, acetaminophen.

Household Products: Moth balls, furniture polish, drain cleaners, weed killers, insect or rat poisons, lye paint thinners, dishwasher detergent, antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, gasoline, kerosene, lamp oil.

There is more of a danger of poisoning when you are away from home, especially at a grandparent's house.

Safety Rules

  • Keep harmful products locked up and out of your child's sight and reach.
  • Use safety latches or locks on drawers and cabinets where you keep dangerous items.
  • Take extra care during stressful times.
  • Call medicine by its correct name. You do not want to confuse the child by calling medicine candy.
  • Always replace the safety caps immediately after use.
  • Never leave alcohol within a child's reach.
  • Seek help if your child swallows a substance that is not food. Call the Poison help Line at 800.222.1222 or your doctor. Don't make your child vomit.
  • Keep products in their original containers. Never put non-food products in food or drink containers.
  • Read labels with care before using any product.
  • Teach children not to drink or eat anything unless an adult gives it.
  • Do not take medicine in front of small children. Children tend to copy adult behavior.
  • Don't flush drugs down the toilet or drain, unless the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs you to do so. 
  • To dispose of prescription drugs  that aren't labeled to be flushed, find out if there is a community drug take-back program or other programs such as a household hazardous waste collection event. Call your city or county government's household trash and recycling service to ask if drug take-back programs are available in your area.
  • Get rid of substances used for old-fashioned treatments such as oil of wintergreen, boric acid, ammoniated mercury, oil of turpentine, and camphorated oil.

Protect Your Child from Lead Poisoning

  • Ask your doctor about blood lead screening if your child lives in or regularly visits a house or child care facility built before 1950 or a home built before 1978 that is being remodeled or has been remodeled in the last six months.
  • Also check with your doctor if your child has a sibling or playmate who has or had a high blood lead level.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • Each year, nearly 30 children ages 14 and younger die from carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Half of all carbon monoxide-related deaths could be prevented by a carbon monoxide detector.