Unintentional poisoning includes the unsupervised ingestion of drugs or chemicals, "overdoses" or the excessive use of a drug and exposure to environmental substances.
The most common poisons include prescription and over-the-counter medications, cleaning products and personal care products. Eighty percent of incidents occur when a child eats or swallows over-the-counter and prescription medicines when an adult wasn't watching.
Children are poisoned by pills or liquid medicine left unattended on countertops and tables, loose in purses or found on the floor. In 2008, poison control centers reported receiving calls about 2.5 million human poison exposure cases.
- of young children. Find a place in your home that is too high for children to reach or see. Walk around your house and decide on the safest place to keep your medicines and vitamins. For more information on medicine storage, visit our Up and Away Resources Page.
- you use it. This includes medicines and vitamins you use every day. Never leave them out on a kitchen counter or at a sick child’s bedside, even if you have to give the medicine again in a few hours.
- Tell your children what medicine is and why you must be the one to give it to them. to get them to take it, even if your child does not like to take his or her medicine.
- to make sure the safety cap is locked. Remember, even though many medicines and vitamins have safety caps, children may be able to open them.
- that have medicines in them up and away and out of sight when they are in your home.
- on or near every home telephone and save it on your cell phone.
Parents are more likely to make mistakes when giving medicines to infants and toddlers than to older children. For example, half of the mistakes leading to emergency room visits from cough and cold medicines occur when giving medicines to infants and toddlers.
- . Do not give a child medicine more often or in greater amounts than is stated on the package.
- (dropper, dosing cup or dosing spoon) that is included with the product. for giving medicines to children. If a measuring device is not included with the product, purchase one at a pharmacy or ask for one from your pharmacist.
- . Make sure that you do not give your child two medicines that have the same "active ingredient." If you have questions ask your doctor or pharmacist.
- If you do not understand the instructions on the label, or how to use the dosing device, do not use the medicine.
Always use the cup, syringe, or other dosage device that comes with a medicine. This will help you give your child the right amount of medicine. A kitchen spoon or some other device could hold the wrong amount. Find more information in FDA Consumer Updates.