Accidental Poisoning

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Emergency Medical Services (EMS) would like to remind parents and caregivers of precautions they can take to prevent accidental childhood poisonings around the home. Ingesting prescription or over the counter (OTC) medications is a significant cause of accidental childhood poisonings. Other causes include ingesting or contact with household items such as dishwasher or laundry tablets, mouthwash, or chemicals such as paints, solvents, or cleaning products.

Medication Storage

  • Place all medications in locked containers and store in an area inaccessible to children.
  • For easy identification, store all medications in their original packaging; do not mix multiple medications in a single bottle.
  • Install child locks on all cabinets or drawers where medications are stored.

Safety Tips

  • Child-resistant medication bottles are not child proof. They can still be opened by a child.
  • Take extra precaution with medicines designed to appeal to children such as chewable vitamins or flavored cough and cold syrups.
  • Promptly dispose of any medications or toxic household products no longer in use.

Prevention

  • Store household products, cleaning supplies, and cosmetics in locked cabinets or drawers.
  • Install child latches on cabinets children might also access by climbing on counters or chairs.
  • Label all plants in and around your home and garden.
  • Antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, and pesticides are extremely poisonous. Even small amounts of these can cause serious illness if ingested.

Poisoning information can be obtained by calling the Poison and Drug Information Service (PADIS) at: 1-800-332-1414.

In case of a poisoning emergency, call 911.

Provide the name of the product ingested and, if it is safe to do so, a sample of the substance for EMS to inspect on their arrival.