Each year, about 67,000 travel to an emergency room for a poisoning from medication alone.

Setting the stage

It happens over and over again every day throughout the U.S. Call data from U.S Poison Centers tells the story: A child in New York grabs a shiny bottle of medicine dosed to him just a few minutes earlier; a 2-year-old in Atlanta ingests a colorful cleaning product left within reach; a hungry toddler in Kansas finds cigarette butts left in an ashtray.

Children are curious! They like to explore and test boundaries. The good news is that with a little bit of effort from parents and caregivers, most poisonings are preventable.

Poison safety tips

  • Store medicines and cleaning products up high, out of reach and sight

  • Put medicines, vitamins, cleaning products and cosmetics away immediately after each use

  • Always secure safety tops on all products, locking properly after each use—but know that child-resistant tops only slows kids down

  • Read label directions and warnings carefully and leave products in their original containers with labels intact

  • Program the Poison Help line into your phone: 1-800-222-1222. Poison centers are available 24/7 year-round, for poison emergencies or for poison information. All calls free and confidential.

Remember, a poison center is an excellent resource in a poison emergency but poison prevention is best! Take time to anticipate your child’s actions and prevent poisonings before they happen.