As consumers, we purchase a wide variety of products that are used in and around our homes. Cleaners, cosmetics, medications, pesticides, and houseplants are among the most common. Because many of these items are commonplace, they are often overlooked as substances that could, if misused, cause illness, injury, and even death.
Each year, more than 6,000 people die and an estimated 30,000 suffer disabling illnesses as a result of unintentional poisonings. It can happen to anyone at any time. Unintentional poisonings can, however, be prevented. While child-resistant latches on cabinets and child-resistant caps on medications have decreased the incidents of poisonings, there are still many other poison hazards in your home. Reduce the likelihood of a poisoning occurring in your home by making sure you do the following:
- Check under the sink and in cabinets for stored products that could be hazardous. These include drain cleaners, ammonia, detergents and floor cleaners. Store these products in their original containers to avoid mistaking the contents for another product and to ensure the label instructions for use and storage are with the product. Install safety latches on all cabinet doors where these products are stored to keep toddlers out.
- Keep household items and food stored separately to avoid confusion.
- Keep personal care items such as hair spray, cologne, perfumes, and nail polish remover where children cannot get them.
- Use child-resistant caps and keep medication lids tightly closed.
- Avoid taking medication in front of a child, or referring to pills as candy.
- Never throw medication in the trash. Instead, dispose of unused or expired medications down the drain or toilet.
- Keep rodent and insect traps out of reach.
- Keep pesticides in a locked cabinet or in a garden shed and never unattended when using them.
- Wipe up all spills and puddles in the garage, carport, basement, or utility areas.
- Familiarize yourself with all the plants you have in and around the house. Some are poisonous to the touch such as poison ivy while others are poisonous if ingested.
- Keep the number to Poison Control Center of Central Ohio, 1-800-682-7625, posted near the telephone. Have the original container and its label available when you call.
Guest Contributor & Article Credits: Fire Marshal Alan Perkins, CFPS (Live Safe Foundation, Liaison to the Fire Department Community) – Alan’s career in the fire service spans more than 30 years. He is a Certified Fire Protection Specialist through the National Fire Protection Association and a member of numerous similar safety organizations. Alan consults with numerous fire departments throughout Ohio and in 2005 was chosen by the Ohio Department of Health as the fire service member on the Ohio School Inspection Advisory Committee. He was also awarded Ohio Fire Official of the Year in 2009 by the Ohio Building Officials Association. Alan is the Fire Marshal for the Washington Township Fire Department in Dublin, Ohio. The Washington Township Fire Department provides fire prevention, fire suppression, emergency medical services, and education and safety programs for Washington Township, which encompasses parts of Franklin, Delaware and Union Counties.
Live Safe Foundation is an Ohio based non-profit organization (501c3), devoted to making and fire and life safety education, awareness initiatives and life saving tools available on a broad basis to communities, campuses, and institutions in an effort to reduce national fire fatalities and fire losses.