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Unintentional poisoning hazards span a lifetime but preventing poisoning can take only moments.

In 2014, about 2.2 million calls were placed to the Poison Help Line (800-222-1222) from people coming into contact with dangerous or potentially dangerous substances.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, approximately 90 percent of poisonings happen at home, and 51 percent of poisonings involve children under the age of 6. The majority of fatal poisonings occur among adults, especially older adults

From incorrect medicine dosing to emerging hazards associated with liquid nicotine, most poisonings are unintentional and preventable.

Key Prevention Tips for Adults

Making your home safe is critical to avoiding poisoning because more than 90 percent of poisonings occur in the home:

  • Never mix household or chemical products together. Doing so can create a dangerous gas.
  • Never share prescription medicines. If you are taking more than one drug at a time, check with your health care provider, pharmacist, or call the toll-free Poison Help line (1-800-222-1222), which connects you to your local poison center, to find out more about possible drug interactions.
  • Keep all chemicals, household cleaners, medicines, and potentially poisonous substances in locked cabinets or out of the reach of children.

Other Safety Advice for Children

Caregivers should be mindful of safety tips to keep children safe from poisons. Children who are less than 6 years old are the most likely to be poisoned. Keep the following poisonous products away from children:

  • Painkillers such as acetaminophen and similar medications
  • Cosmetics such as perfume or nail polish, and personal care products such as deodorant and soap
  • Cleaning products such as laundry detergent and floor cleaners
  • To avoid poisonings when taking care of children, be aware of the following tips:
  • All medicines and household cleaning products should be stored in locked cabinets, out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Keep children where you can see them at all times, even when you go to answer the door or telephone.
  • Never leave young children alone.
  • Do not leave poisons on a counter or in an unlocked cabinet.
  • Never carry something that can be poisonous, such as a medicine, in a purse where children may find it.
  • Safety latches on drawers or cabinets, and child resistant caps on bottles, are helpful in keeping poisons out of the hands of children.


This article is written by Michael Leizerman.

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