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A poison is a harmful substance that can make you sick, hurt or kill you if it gets introduced or absorbed into your body. It is critical to understand that poisonings can happen quickly. Poisons can be found inside and outside of our homes. Approximately 400 potentially toxic substances enter the average home each year. Household products become potentially harmful when splashed in the eye, in the mouth or on the skin. Household products, plants, bites and stings, food poisoning and over the counter and prescription drugs are just a few things that are poisonous. Grown-ups sometimes use products around the house, for cleaning floors, washing clothes, (detergent pods) killing bugs and killing weeds that are very poisonous.


Young children are at the greatest risk for unintentional poisonings, that is why poison prevention education is extremely important and can be a lifesaver. There are so many dangerous household items that appeal to children, for instance, many prescription and over the counter medications that are very similar in appearance to candy.



There are household cleaning products such as pine cleaner that looks just like apple juice and various other products that look exactly like something a child would be easily attracted to. Click here (http://floridapoisoncontrol.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Poison-Look- Alike.pdf) to view the prevent look-alike poisoning guide (you can also print to share with your friends and family)


According to the Center for Disease Control, every day over 300 Children in the United States ages 0 to 19 are treated in an emergency department, and two children die, as a result of being poisoned. It’s not just chemicals in your home marked with clear warning labels that can be dangerous to children.


Everyday items in your home can be poisonous to children. Active curious children will often investigate and sometimes eat or drink anything that is within their reach. Over half of the 2 million calls to the poison help number in 2011 involved children ages 5 and under.


It’s a fact that 9 out of 10 poisonings occur at home.


Poison Prevention Guidelines from the Poison Control Center


  • Always read labels before giving medicine or using household products
  • Call medicine, including vitamins, by their proper name. Do not ever refer to medicine as candy
  • Keep all medicines and household products out of the reach of young children
  • Use child-resistant packages, but remember that nothing is completely childproof
  • Identify the most dangerous poisons in your home and lock them up in their original child-resistant packaging, out of sight and away from children
  • When you have guests in your home always be aware of the drugs and possibly poisonous items they might bring into your home (children can easily get into pillboxes, purses, backpacks, and coats)
  • Use cabinet locks and store potential poisons in high cabinets out of the reach of children
  • Depending on your area of the country poisonous plants, mushrooms, snakes, spiders, or scorpions might be potentially dangerous
  • Check homes built before 1978 for lead based pain. If lead hazards are identified, test your child for lead exposure and hire a professional to control and remove lead sources safely
  • Regularly wash your child’s toys and other items to reduce the risk of your child coming into contact with lead or lead-contaminated dust
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm to prevent poisoning, especially near sleeping areas and they should be installed at least 15 feet from any fuel-burning appliances
  • Put the nationwide poison control center number 1-800-222-1222 on or near every phone in your home and programmed in your cell phone

According to the Poison Control Center here are a few important things children should know to prevent unintentional poisonings:


  • Stay away from areas of the home that could contain poisonous items: medicine cabinets, kitchen, and bathroom cabinets, cleaning cabinets and garages
  • Never touch, taste, or smell something that could be poisonous, especially if you don’t know what it is
  • Always ask first! Don’t put anything in your mouth you’re not sure is safe to eat or drink and watch out for little brothers or sisters who don’t know better
  •  If you don’t know what it is, stay away and ask a grown-up
  •  Tell a grown-up if you see something that could be dangerous
  • If someone you know touches, tastes, or smell something that could be poisonous, tell a grown-up right away
  • Be careful with critters! Don’t bother bees, spiders or snakes.
  • Help your parents and other adults put poison control stickers in easy-to-find places, like on the telephone
  • Stand up for yourself. Don’t let anyone push you to take medicine or drugs not given to you by your parent or doctor. The wrong medicine can poison, too!
  • Have an adult call the poison control center immediately (1-800-222-1222) if you are someone else touches, tastes, or smells a poisonous item



Parents and caregivers, here are some ways you can help keep your family, friends, and yourself poison-safe at home:


PRACTICE SAFE STORAGE HABITS:  Make sure you make sure to have common household items (listed below) stored up, away, and out of sight and reach of children, and in their original containers. Also, keep these substances in cabinets secured with child-resistant locks. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a 100% child-proof lock or container:

  • All medications and pharmaceuticals, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements.
  • Tobacco and e-cigarette products, especially liquid nicotine
  • Alcohol
  • Laundry and cleaning supplies
  • Pesticides and insect repellents
  • Button batteries, such as those found in musical greeting cards, key fobs, etc.
  • Any type of oil or lubricant, including fragrance oils, Tiki torch oils, engine oil, etc.
  • Personal care products, especially contact lens disinfectants and hand sanitizers
  • Other chemicals




DETECT INVISIBLE THREATS. Consider installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home.


PREPARE FOOD SAFELY. Practice safe food preparation and handling to avoid food poisoning.


For additional information, please contact your poison center at 1 (800) 222-1222 or visit The American Association of Poison Control Centers’ website at www.aapcc.org


And Florida’s Poison Control Center website at http://floridapoisoncontrol.org/


Prevención de envenenamientos (EN ESPAÑOL): CLICK HERE!


Poison prevention tips (in English): CLICK HERE!


Poison prevention tips (IN CREOLE): CLICK HERE!


Venomous snakes of Florida: http://floridapoisoncontrol.org/wp- content/uploads/2015/02/Venomous-Snakes_English.pdf


Common poisonous plants in Florida: http://floridapoisoncontrol.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Poisonous-Plants-of-Florida.pdf


Florida’s Venomous Bugs and Spiders: http://floridapoisoncontrol.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Florida-Venomous-Critters.pdf


Florida’s Marine “Sting and Things”: http://floridapoisoncontrol.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/FloridaMarineStingsThings.pdf


Poison prevention activity book for children: http://floridapoisoncontrol.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Activity-Book-English11.pdf


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