Keeping Children Safe from Poisoning

Often new parents and caregivers, who aren't accustomed to having small children in the home, are unaware of the dangers presented by everyday household products. One example is leaving an open bottle of baby oil within reach of a young child. The consequences could be tragic. Here are some prevention tips:

1. Keep all household products and medicines locked up, out of sight and out of reach.
2. Use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container securely after each use or choose child-resistant unit packaging, which does not need to be re-secured.
3. Call 1-800-222-1222 immediately in case of poisoning.
4. When products are in use, keep children in your sight, even if you must take them along when answering the phone or doorbell.
5. Keep items in original containers.
6. Leave the original labels on all products, and read the label before using.
7. Do not put decorative lamps and candles that contain lamp oil where children can reach them. Lamp oil can be very toxic if ingested by young children.
8. Always turn the light on when giving or taking medicine so you can see what you are taking. Check the dosage every time.
9. Avoid taking medicine in front of children.
10. Clean out the medicine cabinet periodically and safely dispose of unneeded and outdated medicines.

Are Adults at Risk?
Yes, poisonings happen to adults -- especially older people -- who cannot read labels or who fail to follow instructions. Some people may confuse one medicine for another, especially if the light is not on when they reach for a medicine at night. Others may take too much of a medicine or may mix medicine with alcohol or other substances. Adults should take precautions to avoid poisonings:
1. Turn on a light at night and put on your glasses to read the label when you need to take a medicine.
2. Always read the label and follow instructions when taking medicines. If any questions arise, consult your physician.
3. Never mix medicines and alcohol, and never take more than the prescribed amount of medicine.
4. Never "borrow" a friend's medicine or take old medicines.
5. Tell your doctor what other medicines you are taking so you can avoid adverse drug interactions.

Poison Emergencies
If you think someone has been poisoned from a medicine or household chemical, call 1-800-222-1222. This new national toll-free number works anywhere in the United States 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. Keep the number on your phone. It will connect you to a poison control center. There are currently 61 poison control centers across the country that maintain information for the doctor or the public on recommended treatment for the ingestion of household products and medicines. For additional information about poison prevention and poison control centers, visit or

-- American Association of Poison Control