Protecting children from poisons

By Beverly Hopps | Mar 14, 2014

Sometimes kids get into things they shouldn’t. Here are some tips to keep little explorers from exposure to dangerous household items.

Cleaners and Other Toxic Products

Young kids are often eye-level with items under the kitchen and bathroom sinks, so store products like bleach, detergents, dishwasher liquid or cleaning solutions out of their sight and reach.

Install child safety locks on cabinets where you store poisonous items.

Read product labels to find out what can be hazardous to kids. Dangerous household items include makeup, personal care products, plants, pesticides, lead, art supplies and alcohol.

Don’t leave poisonous products unattended while in use. Many incidents happen when adults are distracted for a moment on the phone or at the door.

Keep cleaning products in their original containers. Never put a poisonous product in something other than its original container (such as a plastic soda bottle) where it could be mistaken for something else.

Check the garage, basement and other storage areas for cleaning and work supplies no longer needed that can be discarded.


Make sure that all medications, including vitamins, are stored out of reach and out of sight of children.

Be aware of any medications in your handbag. Keep handbags out of the reach of young children.

Even if you are tempted to keep the medicine handy because you have to take another dose in a few hours, don’t leave it on the counter between dosing. Always put medicines and vitamins away after every use.

Properly dispose of unused and expired medication through medication take-back events or local law enforcement agencies.

Lead and Carbon Monoxide

Check homes built before 1978 for lead-based paint. If lead is identified, test your child for lead exposure and hire a professional to control and remove lead sources safely.

Remove any peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint.

Install a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas, and keep them at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances.

Poison Control

Program the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222) into your home and cell phones, and post it near your phone or on your refrigerator for the babysitter.

If you suspect your child has been poisoned, call poison control. If your child has collapsed or is not breathing, call 911 immediately.

For more information on poison prevention, contact Safe Kids WNC, led by Mission Children's Hospital, at 213-5548.

Beverly Hopps is a health educator for Safe Kids WNC and Mission Children's Hospital.



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