How to prevent accidental poisonings around the house

Kids are naturally curious. They love to explore, and, consequently, they tend to get into everything. Some things that look bright and shiny to a little one, like a laundry detergent pod, are really dangerous if eaten. The number of things around the house that are poisonous is kind of scary when you think of the mischief a kiddo might find. There’s a lot involved with figuring out how to childproof a home, but keep the following tips in mind to protect your kids from accidental poisonings.

1. Have the Poison Control number everywhere.

Make sure that you have the Poison Control hotline number by every phone, and plug it into your cell phone for good measure.

Here’s that number: 1-800-222-1222

If your child eats something they shouldn’t have and you suspect they’ve been poisoned, but they’re still conscious and alert, you can call the hotline and follow their advice. If the child has lost consciousness, however, or has lost a heartbeat call 911 immediately.

2. Keep all harmful household products and medications out of sight (and thus out of mind—hopefully)

Make sure to check the labels on any household cleaners or products that you use to see what the label says about its toxicity. You need to stash these things in a place where kids won’t accidentally find them, or even accidentally see them and be tempted to play with them or eat/drink them. Have them in a locked cabinet or a cabinet that’s high out of reach.

Medications are also a cause of accidental poisonings.

Remember, kids are extremely crafty. Think of any possible way that a kiddo could get ahold of the things you’re trying to hide and head it off before it happens.   

Some of the products that should be kept away from children to prevent poisonings are:

  • Medications (both OTC and prescription)
  • Liquid nicotine, tobacco, or e-cigarette products
  • Alcohol
  • Laundry and cleaning products
  • Insect repellents/pesticides
  • Small batteries, like the ones that would be in a remote
  • Contact solution, hand sanitizer, etc.
  • Any kind of oils, even bath oils

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3. Store chemicals, cleaners, medications, etc. in their original containers.

Those labels aren’t there just to be pretty. They’ve got lots of useful, necessary information on them, including warnings and ingredients. Don’t pour a cleaner or chemical into a different container, especially an unlabeled one.

Also, don’t mix household cleaners or chemicals together. Sometimes chemicals can react together and create toxic fumes that could lead to poisonings.

4. Don’t leave things lying around.

If you do some cleaning, make sure to put away the cleaner as soon as you’re done. You created that kid-proof spot for the chemicals and cleaning products for a reason, so don’t forget to use it. It’s also important to know how to use pesticides safely around the house

Put away cleaners and chemicals that could cause poisonings.

You also have to be vigilant with medications—don’t leave a medicine bottle, container, or dose cup on the counter. Make sure to stow it away in its proper place, and always use the childproof cap.

5. Make sure your guests are aware of poisoning hazards.

You’re used to living with a small child, so it might be second nature to you to stash things and play keep-away with household products or medications. But your guests might not realize how important it is to remove things like pills from their bags, where children could get ahold of them. Head off poisonings before they happen by making sure that they know what they need to hide safely and give them a place to do so.

6. Know the plants in and around your house.

Many plants aren’t so great for humans if they’re eaten. They might look yummy to a small child, so make sure that you know if there are any plants you need to remove or keep an eye on. You don’t want the kids to start snacking on the leaves.

7. Know what you need to know.

If a child has been poisoned, there are a few key pieces of information that will help the poison control professional or the paramedics treat the victim:

  • The victim’s age and weight
  • The information on the bottle or container (remember what we said about those labels?)
  • Time that the poison was encountered/ingested
  • Your address

8. Medicate your child carefully.

Always, always, always double and triple check the dosing instructions before giving any medication to your child.

To prevent accidental poisonings from medication, triple check the dosage and ask for a doctor's recommendation.

Read the fine print on the bottle for any warnings or additional instructions that you need to know. It can’t hurt to ask for a pediatrician’s recommendation before giving your child medication.

9. Prevent exposure to things you can’t see.

If there’s something wrong with your fireplace, heater, or stove, it’s possible that you and your children will be exposed to toxic fumes. Make sure to have your stove and other appliances checked out frequently—once a year is a good rule of thumb—to make sure that they’re still working properly and aren’t endangering your family.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is also an invisible threat, so installing CO detectors isn’t a bad idea. They’ll alert you if you have a CO problem so that you can act before it’s too late. Make sure that you know the dangers of carbon monoxide and how to prevent them.

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Nobody wants to see a child get hurt, or accidentally eat or drink something that could put their life in danger. Make sure to keep your house safe for your kids—keep anything that you don’t want them to eat out of their grasp. Even turning away for a second gives a child enough time to get into something they shouldn’t, so you can’t be too careful when it comes to protecting your kids against poisonings.

Another way to protect your family is to make sure that you’ve got the insurance you need to be covered against any disaster that life could throw your way. If you want to talk about your insurance or you’d like to get a free quote for your homeowner’s insurance, let us know! We love that sort of stuff. All you have to do is fill out our quote form or give us a call.