Wherever you live, just dial the nationwide poison hotline number: 1-800-222-1222.
If your child has collapsed or is not breathing, call 911.
Post the poison hotline number by your phone and bring it with you wherever you go. Be sure to point it out to your babysitter.
- Keep drugs, medicines, cleaning products, and make-up locked up and out of reach.
- Use safety latches on cupboards and drawers that contain dangerous things.
- If you keep plants in your house, or want to landscape your yard, use non-toxic plants. Indoor and outdoor poisonous plants put your child at risk. If your child eats any part of a non-food plant, call poison control.
- Keep the poison control center phone number (1-800-222-1222) in clear view near every phone. Be sure your babysitter knows how and when to call the poison center.
- Read labels of household products before you buy, and always keep them in their original containers. Read the label to be sure you are using the product safely.
- Use this checklist to go through your home and fix potentially dangerous situations. Also in Spanish.
- For more tips and to watch a video clip about poison-proofing, check out this University of Michigan Health Minute: Poison-proof your home to prevent accidents.
- Ten tips to protect children from pesticide and lead poisonings. Also in Spanish.
- Be familiar with the signs of inhalant abuse.
If you think your child has swallowed something toxic, get whatever may still be in their mouth out, and keep whatever evidence you find of what the substance might be. If the child has symptoms, call 911, and bring the container with you. Do not make your child vomit. Do not follow label instructions about poisoning—these are often out-of-date. If your child does not have symptoms, call the poison center (1-800-222-1222). They will get more information from you and tell you what to do.
If your child gets a dangerous chemical on their skin, remove their clothes and rinse well with lukewarm water. Call your poison center.
If your child gets poison in their eye, flush their eye by holding the eyelid open and pouring a steady stream of lukewarm water into the inside corner of the eye. Flush for 15 minutes, then call the poison center for more instructions.
Syrup of ipecac is no longer recommended to treat poisoning. If you have it in your house you should throw it away. Find out the reasons for the new recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in this Q & A on poison treatment in the home.
Check out these related topics on YourChild:
- Lead Poisoning
- Air Quality and Safety at Home
- Second-Hand Smoke and Smoking During Pregnancy
- Tobacco and Kids
- Food Safety
Written and compiled by Kyla Boyse, R.N. Reviewed by faculty and staff at the University of Michigan
Updated October 2009
U-M Health System Related Sites