15 Ways to Avoid Accidental Poisonings

Jan 17, 2013

By Staff Writer

accidental-poisoning.jpgPoison control centers record more than two million poisonings annually—most incidents occur at home and common household products are often the culprits. “The things people get poisoned with are the things they live with every day,” says Amy Hanoian-Fontana, community education specialist for the Connecticut Poison Control Center.

Some of the most dangerous substances can be found in cleaners and chemicals, cosmetics, personal products and medications. Observe Poison Prevention Week 2013, March 17–23, by following these tips to help keep family members and pets out of harm’s way:

  • Store items high in a locked or childproofed cabinet.
  • Seal and return items to their original storage place when you are finished with them.
  • Keep products in the original packaging (preferably child-resistant). Transferring products to food or beverage containers can be especially dangerous.
  • Read labels before using products, particularly medications. If you have poor eyesight, ask your pharmacist to print labels in a larger type. Always wear your glasses and have sufficient lighting when reading instructions.
  • Do not use a kitchen teaspoon or tablespoon to measure medication.
  • Never tell children medicine is candy.
  • Avoid taking two or more medications with the same active ingredients.
  • Take medicine only as prescribed or recommended. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions.
  • Never give animals food or medication intended for humans unless prescribed by a veterinarian. Even common foods, such as chocolate or grapes, can make pets sick and are potentially lethal.
  • Avoid combining cleaning products, especially those containing ammonia or bleach. Combining products can generate life-threatening gases.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area when using cleaning supplies and chemicals.
  • When working with cleaning products and chemicals, cover your skin with long sleeves, pants, and gloves; wear eye protection; and wash your hands and any items that touched the product.
  • Clean up spills before your pet does. Anti-freeze is especially dangerous because it tastes sweet to pets.
  • Point spray bottles and aerosol cans away from you before spraying.
  • Purchase mouthwash with a low alcohol content.

Be Prepared

If you or a family member has been poisoned, call your local poison control center at 800-222-1222. And remember: Accidental poisonings can happen to anyone. “The poison center isn’t just for kids,” Hanoian-Fontana says. “Adults have risks for poison exposure, too.”

The National Safety Council has even more tips for preventing accidental poisoning

The information in this article was obtained from various sources. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under any policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information. We assume no liability in connection with the information nor the suggestions made.

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