Poisonings and Poison Prevention

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What to Do If You Think Someone is Poisoned

Do NOT make the poisoned person throw up! Call the Poison Center.

Direct Phone Line: 1-800-222-1222

T.T.Y: 866-688-0088

  • Fast, free, private medical help!
  • Always open - every day, 24 hours a day.
  • Pharmacists and nurses will help you.

If the person has collapsed or stopped breathing, call 911 right away.

Why Young Children Get into Things

Poison emergency hotline

Children are always changing and growing. They are naturally curious. They are often “getting into things.” They learn by doing what they see others do. When they see someone using cleaner, smoking cigarettes, taking medicine, or drinking alcohol, they copy what they see. Children grow fast - products considered safe from the reach of a 10-month-old child may become easy to reach just a few months later. Make sure that other places your child visits are also safe from poisons. Ask relatives, friends, and baby sitters to Be Poison Smart!® and poison-proof their homes too.

How to “Be Poison Smart!®”

Look for “pretty poisons,” or look-alike products. Things that look like something good to eat or drink to a child can be harmful if tasted, swallowed, or gotten on the skin or in the eyes. Every time you take something home, ask yourself:

  • Can this product be a “pretty poison” (look-alike)?
  • Is it medicine or vitamins?
  • Does it have alcohol in it?
  • Does it contain gasoline, insecticides or pesticides?

If the answer is “yes” to any of the above questions, store the product out of sight and out of the reach of children!

Storing Products

Use the lower shelves to store harmless items. Leave space for poisons in high cabinets.

Locks and Latches:

Parents might think that putting latches on cabinet doors will keep kids away. The truth is that kids are interested in new challenges and puzzles. They love to discover new things. They will learn quickly how to open things just by watching you. Be Poison Smart! Keep potential poisons in cabinets high up.


Store products out of sight and reach

Always use products with child-resistant caps. But remember – the caps are not childproof. Keep products in their original, labeled containers. Read the entire label before every use.


Read more about this in Helping Hand V-157: Medication Safety.

  • Never call medicine "candy."
  • Don’t take your medicine in front of kids.
  • Never give medicine in the dark.
  • Keep track of all the medicine your child is taking. Ask the nurses for Helping Hand: HH-V-1, Medication Record Form.
  • Always read the label before giving a medicine. Make sure it is for the right child.
  • Always use the measuring tool that came with the medicine.
  • If your child cannot take his or her medicine on time, always check with the doctor or call the poison center to make sure it is OK to give the medicine before the next dose.
  • Always give the full dose of medicine. Make sure your child finishes the full length of antibiotics as it was prescribed, even if he or she is feeling better.
  • Do not keep old medicine. Do not hold on to medicine that was not finished or no longer can be used. Ask your child’s doctor or nurse how to get rid of old medicine safely. Ask for Helping Hand HH-V-228, Proper Disposal of Medicine.


Know the names of all your plants, both indoors and out. To find out the plant names, take a branch or leaf to your local plant store. Keep poisonous plants out of children’s reach.

Carbon Monoxide:

This is a deadly gas that you can’t hear, smell or see. It could be coming from your gas stove or dryer, furnace, fireplace, grill, generator or car when it is left running in the garage. Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector on every floor in your home.

How to Poison-Proof Your Home

Look for “pretty poisons” (look-alikes) in every room in your home. Check all cabinets, cupboards, drawers and shelves. Remove and store all poisonous products in cabinets up high or in locked cupboards. Use this guide as a checklist to poison-proof your home:

How to poison proof your house

Like us on Facebook to receive more information and check out the Central Ohio Poison Center’s website.

Poison Prevention (PDF)

HH-IV-30 6/81, Revised 2/14 Copyright 1981, Nationwide Children’s Hospital