Poison-proofing your home

Young children explore the world by putting things in their mouth, and even curious older children don’t always know what’s unsafe. That explains why more than 1 million children under age 6 are victims of accidental poisoningeach year.

Keep your child safe by identifying (and locking up) toxic materials and knowing what to do if she swallows, inhales, or touches something poisonous.

Identify poisons in each room

Conduct a room-by-room inventory of toxic products, listing anything that’s out in the open as well as inside drawers, cupboards, and closets. Then make sure all poisons are clearly labeled and locked out of a child’s reach.

Experts recommend paying particular attention to the kitchen and bathroom. It’s not always obvious what’s hazardous and what’s not, and poisonous substances may not be in plain sight.

If you’re not sure whether a product is poisonous, check the label or call the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ hotline at (800) 222-1222.

Here are some of the hazardous substances commonly ingested by children under age 6:

  • Cleaning products, including drain cleaner, oven cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, bleach, dishwasher detergent, liquid laundry packets, furniture polish, and rust remover
  • Prescription drugs such as heart and blood pressure medications, antidepressants, sleeping pills, diabetes medications, pain medications, and time-release medications
  • Cosmetics and personal care products, such as mouthwash, nail products, hair remover
  • Baby oil or similar products (which can be dangerous if your child gets them in his lungs)
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen, which are poisonous when taken in large doses

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