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Common Household Poisons

The week of March 18-24 is National Poison Prevention Week, which means that there is no better time for families everywhere to be mindful of the toxic materials in their own home. From cleaning products to certain cosmetic supplies, there are certain substances in every home which can become poisonous when they’re ingested. Children are especially vulnerable to household poisons, which can make many parents concerned about what dangers might exist in their home.

To raise awareness of household poisons and help our community take part in National Poison Prevention Month, Grand Parkway Emergency Center wants to discuss what materials in your home might be toxic. Learning how to eliminate or contain harmful substances in your home can lower the risks of poison-related illness.

What are poisons?

Poison is noted as any substance that causes illness or death to the person or animal that ingests it. This means poison can come in many forms, and some are more dangerous than others. Some poisons might only effect family pets, while others might make you sick immediately.

When doctors talk about household poisons, they are most often referring to substances like:

  • Cleaning and laundry products
  • Pesticides
  • Gardening products, like plant food, some dirt mixtures, or fertilizer
  • Certain kinds of cosmetic, personal care, or topical skin products
  • Medications like pain relievers, antihistamines, and some kinds of vitamins

If you’re worried about poison risks in your home, then start by looking at these substances. How many cleaning products do you have in the home? How are they begin stored? What about gardening supplies? Do you know if your cosmetics are nontoxic?

Keeping your home and your family safe from poisonous substances will begin with monitoring where and how you store many of these substances. While things like medication are not toxic until they are taken in too-high dosages, it is still important for parents to make sure any pills or makeup are kept out of reach of young children.

Storing Household Poisons

Even when we use eco-friendly products to keep a clean, all-natural home, some poisonous products are inevitable. Household cleaners are the most common form of household poison because they have very harsh chemicals in them which break down and kill bacteria and other contaminants. The germs that these products can eliminate are dangerous and can increase family illness as well, so it is not always necessary to cut out all of your regular cleaners.

But knowing where and how to store them is important:

  • Keep all household cleaning products, laundry products included, on shelves that are higher up and out of reach for small children.
  • Make sure that all products have sealed lids or containers without any leaks or vents and that these containers are not easily opened by young children.
  • Keep medicines and vitamins inside a cabinet, on a shelf that small children cannot easily reach or open and make sure they are all stored in child-safe bottles.
  • Keep gardening supplies in a contained space outside or in the garage where children cannot easily find them.
  • Make sure all gardening supplies, like fertilizer and soil, are stored in closed, sealed containers to avoid any accidental spilling.
  • Keep any potentially toxic cosmetic materials inside bathroom cabinets or drawers so that young children cannot easily reach them.

The key to keeping children safe from accidental poisoning is ensuring that all possibly dangerous substances are kept well out of reach. When parents keep cleaning products and other harmful materials out of reach, it makes toddlers and young children safer in the home.

For older children, it is important that parents explain to them why certain things are dangerous. After recent internet jokes like “the Tide pod challenge,” it is vital that parents explain to their children the dangers of trying to eat these substances. When they know the dangers, they will be less likely to risk their wellbeing.

Adults, as well, should be careful. While adults might understand how cleaning products can be toxic, they sometimes run the risk of poisoning themselves when not being mindful of these substances. Make sure all cleaning products, like bleach, are properly diluted before use, or that no cleaners are sprayed in front of food or drinks. Also, make sure that you pay attention to the proper medical doses, as many adults can accidentally hurt themselves by over medicating.

Preventing poison accidents in the home can be worrisome for some families, but it is possible to keep your family safe with smart storage techniques and a mindful attitude towards the substances in your home. By limiting access to small children, you will keep them safe until they’re old enough to understand how dangerous accidental poisons can be.

Grand Parkway Emergency Center is here to help your family in the case of any medical emergencies. Our highly trained doctors are available 24/7 with concierge-level care for all ages. Our facility, which is connected to the Oak Bend Medical Center, can treat all emergency medicine with compassion and convenient care. If you believe someone in your household is suffering from a poison-related emergency, then call the American Association of Poison Control Center hotline at: 1-800-222-1222.


Nutex Health, Inc.supports you and your family’s health. Come visitGrand Parkway Emergency Center, A Department of OakBend Medical Center or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.