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Poison Prevention: What Every Parent Should Know

Situations in which a child is poisoned by ordinary household substances are one of a parent’s worst nightmares. It’s almost impossible to maintain a home without various products and chemicals that post a threat to curious kids, and parents are wise to be on their guard.

There are a couple of reasons to relax and be confident about this topic, however. First off, many accidental poisonings are mild, and treated with relative ease by medical professionals. Second, by increasing our awareness as parents, and thinking more carefully about the different poison risks in our home, we can create a safer environment and do a better job of keeping these risks out of the hands of children.


Always store them where children can’t get at them. A locked drawer or cabinet in the bathroom is a good idea. It’s important to remember that even non-prescription medications and ordinary products like mouthwash are hazardous when ingested. All potentially hazardous items should be well out of reach, even if they feature “child resistant” packaging. Don’t move medications from their original containers, and always make sure you have an idea of what medications are in the house, and how much of each medication is remaining in the bottle. Thinks like vitamins and aspirins should also be treated as potential poisoning risks, as curious children can ingest such things in large quantities, thereby posing a risk.

Cleaning products

The first and best rule is to keep all cleaning products in a high place, out of reach. A locked or childproof cabinet is also a possibility (under the kitchen sink, for example), but make sure you trust the device. A locking device that doesn’t work properly could have consequences — it’s better to use a locking device and the element of height. Laundry and dishwashing products should be treated the same way, as their bright colors and scents may seem appealing to small children. Avoid using juice or soda bottles for cleaning products.

Alcoholic beverages

This is a very serious health risk for small children, and is often overlooked. Alcoholic drinks should be kept safely out of reach, and many parents choose to keep them under lock and key to make sure children can’t get at them. If you’re enjoying drinks with friends during evenings or weekends, don’t leave bottles or beverages out in the open, and be aware of the possibility that kids might get curious.

Other risks

Other important risks to be aware of include lead paint, cosmetics, polish, perfume, hair products, soap, batteries, and certain types of plants.

Preventing poison is a collective effort!

Parents with a sharper awareness of poisoning risks are much more likely to pass that knowledge on to their children. Older children can also be a fantastic resource for parents. By instilling very strong awareness of poisoning risks in responsible older children, younger children stand to benefit from an extra layer of protection. All told, child poisonings can be easily prevented with proper awareness. If you suspect a child has ingested something harmful, call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or head straight for your local emergency department.

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