Top Poison Prevention Tips for Families

Top Poison Prevention Tips for Families

Poison centers across the United States respond to more than 2 million poison exposures each year. The vast majority (roughly 93%) of these exposures occur in a residence, meaning your home could pose hidden dangers.

We encourage you to use National Poison Prevention Week as a yearly reminder to inspect your home for potential poisons. This includes everything from medications and household cleaning products to poisonous plants found on your property.

Here are some poison prevention tips to keep your family safe year-round.

Young children are at increased risk of poison exposure

All ages, from infants to older adults, can fall victim to unintentional poisoning. However, young children below the age of five account for almost 40% of poison exposures, according to the most recent data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC).

If you have young children, poison prevention should be a top priority within your home.

Consider these poison statistics from the National Capital Poison Center (NCPC) based on 2020 data:

The good news is that most reported poison exposures were nontoxic, minimally toxic, or had only a minor effect. However, poison prevention is a subject we should understand and take steps to make our homes safer.

Poison prevention tips for your home and property

Incidents can be prevented by simply scanning your home and securing potential poisonous substances out of a child’s sight. Use the following categories to jumpstart your poison prevention efforts.

1. Medication safety

Safeguard against accidental medication poisonings by storing and disposing of medicine appropriately.

Additionally, you should take steps to dispose of expired or unwanted medications properly.

2. Carbon monoxide dangers

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless toxic gas that can quickly become a “silent killer”. The dangers of carbon monoxide can be present any time you burn fuel, such as when using a vehicle, gas range, furnace, or generator.

If your carbon monoxide detector sounds, go outside immediately where you can breathe fresh air. Then, call for help.

3. Hidden poisonous household products

Household and personal care products are often overlooked as potential toxic substances. This typically includes cleaning products, as well as lotions, makeup, hand sanitizer, and more.

Keep in mind that when mixed together, some cleaning chemicals can become toxic. For example, mixing ammonia with products that contain chlorine bleach can release a toxic gas for both people and animals.

4. Chemical safety

Be aware of the dangers of household chemicals and other poisonous items you use in your home and yard. This might include cleaning products, paint thinners, drain cleaners, pesticides, fertilizers, antifreeze, and more.

Be sure to immediately seal and store chemicals after each use. If you no longer need or want a chemical, dispose of it safely.

5. Be aware of mother nature

Animals, insects, and plants can pose a risk. Make sure the whole family can identify potential dangers specific to where you live.

Always have your children wear protective attire when exploring your property and during other outdoor adventures.

How to get help for a poison emergency

If you have questions about potentially harmful substances or suspect a poison exposure, you can contact your local poison control center by calling 1-800-222-1222. This free, 24-7 resource can often provide you with expert guidance faster than waiting for a return call from your pediatrician or other healthcare professional. You can also use the Poison Help online tool for additional poisoning information.

Hesitant to reach out to the poison center for help? Don’t be! Here’s a first-hand experience from one of our HSI Instructors who called for peace of mind after a potential pediatric poison exposure.

To learn more about poison exposure and first aid treatments, take a CPR, AED, and First Aid course near you.

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