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Keeping kids safe from accidental poisonings

Toddler girl wearing a grey striped shirt leans over a table to look at four white cleaning products.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Center, over 91% of poison exposures in Missouri and Kansas occur in the home, and over 45% of those cases involved children under the age of 5.

Know what to do.

Along with preparing the home, it’s also important to know what to do if there is a suspected poisoning. Keep the Poison Help home number close by, in a visible location and saved in your phone for quick access—1 (800) 222-1222. You can also text this hotline for help by messaging POISON to 797979. These lines are staffed 24/7, free and confidential to offer help.

Prepare the home.

Keeping the home safe is key for preventing poisonings. Keep all hazardous items up on a high shelf, hidden or in a locked child-proof container or cabinet is recommended for these items:

  • Cleaning supplies
  • Alcohol
  • Personal care products – eye contact solution, perfume, hand sanitizers, etc.
  • Liquid laundry packets
  • Medications – This includes medications that may be in a child’s bedroom when they are sick.
  • Nicotine and nicotine products like e-cigarettes
  • Button batteries from toys and electronics
  • Dispose of all expired or unused medications
  • Other chemicals

When you are visiting family, you can also ask them to be sure their hazardous items are locked up when you are there. Remember, storing chemicals under sinks puts them at a child’s eye level.

Teach kids what is dangerous.

Teaching your child about safe medication use and things to stay away from will help them know what is dangerous and help keep them safe.

  1. Teach them what medicine is. 
  2. Medicine should only be given by adult caregivers or with their permission.
  3. Do not tell them medicine is candy or tastes like candy. Many medications closely resemble candy and may entice children to try and access them.
  4. Tell kids to stay away from hazardous items. You can try saying something like “Not safe, only Mommy/Daddy can use it.

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Center for Childhood Safety and Injury Prevention