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Preventing Poisoning in Young Children - Topic Overview

House and garden poisons

  • Keep products completely out of the reach and sight of children. Do not keep poisons, such as drain opener, detergent, oven cleaner, or plant food, under your kitchen sink.
  • Look for words that signal the level of poison danger in pesticide products. The word "Caution" on a pesticide label means the product is slightly toxic. The word "Warning" means the product is moderately toxic. And the word "Danger" means the product is highly toxic.1 For more information, go to the National Pesticide Information Center website at www.npic.orst.edu.
  • Use only nontoxic arts and crafts materials.
  • Check your home for lead paint chips if your home was built before 1978.
  • Don't forget your garage when poison-proofing your home. Keep poisons and flammables out of reach of children. For example, kerosene, lamp oil, gasoline, and fertilizers are all poisonous when ingested. Many products kept in garages also are fire hazards.

Alcohol and medicines

  • Keep alcohol, medicines (including vitamins), tobacco products, and dietary supplements out of the sight and reach of children. Aspirin is a common source of childhood poisoning, especially flavored "baby" aspirin. And children sometimes eat cigarettes.
  • Do not take medicines in front of your young child. Children like to mimic adult actions. They may eat something inappropriate in an attempt to be like you.
  • Educate your child about the effects of alcohol and medicines.
  • Never call medicines "candy."
  • Keep medicines in their original labeled containers.
  • Buy over-the-counter medicines that have child-resistant packages.
  • Check the expiration dates on medicines. Mix old medicines into coffee grounds or cat litter and put them in the trash. Don't flush them down the toilet.

Chemicals and fumes

  • Never mix chemicals.
  • Keep cleaners or chemicals in their original containers.
  • Only use chemicals in well-ventilated areas.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 26, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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