Protect your family from potential poisoning risks in the most used spaces in your home: the bathroom, laundry, and bedroom. These familiar rooms often contain the greatest potential risk of accidental poisoning due to the number of products found in each. Taking an inventory of potential poison risks, instructing young children on how products should and should not be used, and routinely tossing out old products and medications are just a few steps you can take to prevent poisoning in your home.
Poison Prevention in your Bathroom
Common soaps, cosmetics, and prescribed medications can pose a potential poisoning risk and health hazard when misused. Keep your bathroom safe with these poison prevention tips recommended by Eleni Kitsos, MD, pediatrician at Bridgeport Pediatrics.
- Always check that your medications have child safety caps. Aspirin and most prescribed medicines should already have these, but it is not universal.
- Always dispose of out-of-date or unused medications. Flush prescriptions and old over-the-counter medicines down the toilet and throw away medication bottles once they have been thoroughly washed.
- Always keep prescription drugs and medications in their original labeled packaging. Many pills, tablets, and capsules may look similar and will be hard to identify outside of the packaging.
- Always keep sprays, cosmetics, fingernail preparations, hair care products, and other beauty products out of reach of children.
- Always install child safety latches on all drawers or cabinets where harmful products are stored.
- Never give medication to anyone other than to whom it was prescribed. Drugs can affect people differently and can be harmful if taken incorrectly.
- Never leave potentially harmful products out where unsupervised children or pets can reach them.
Remember that dental products like toothpaste and mouthwash have the potential to cause harm in small children if ingested in large amounts. Though a single tube of toothpaste will usually not have enough fluoride to cause serious poisoning, children should still be discouraged from eating it altogether. If you think your child may have eaten toothpaste, call 1-800-222-1222, which connects you to your local poison center for further instructions.
The same rule should apply to mouthwash, which often contains alcohol and can be harmful to small children in any amount. Other products that may contain alcohol include hand sanitizer, acne treatments, and skincare products. These should all be kept out of the reach of children.
Poison Prevention in Your Laundry and Bedroom
Though often seen as a safe space and place of rest within the home, the laundry room and bedroom each have potential poisoning risks. While cleaning agents and laundry supplies may seem like obvious risks, perfumes and cosmetics are dangers hidden in plain sight. Use these safety tips to prevent poisoning in your laundry and bedroom today.
- Always keep products like bleach, soap, detergents, fabric softeners, bluing agents, and sprays stored away and out of reach of children.
- Always keep these laundry products in their original container. This will allow you to reference ingredients and safe use instructions for each product easily.
- Always be mindful of where perfumes, cosmetics, powders, and sachets are kept. Ensure that these are stored properly and cannot be reached by children or pets.
- Never keep medicine bottles on bedside tables or dressers where children and pets can easily reach them.
- Never mix or combine products. Certain cleaning agents like bleach and ammonia can create fumes that are toxic.
What To Do When a Poisoning Occurs
Be prepared ahead of time. Keep a list of local emergency contacts next to a phone or in a central location in your home. This list should include the number for the West Virginia Poison Center, which is 1-800-222-1222, and any local emergency services.
Consider including your name, address, phone number, and emergency contacts to this list if a babysitter or house guest needs to contact emergency services.
If an accidental poisoning occurs, or you believe that someone in your home has ingested potentially poisonous substances, call the West Virginia Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately for further instructions.
Please note, the information provided throughout this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and video, on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. If you are experiencing related symptoms, please visit your doctor or call 9-1-1 in an emergency.