Home Poisoning Q&A
The following information has been sourced from the Tennessee Poison Control Center, American Association of Poison Control Centers, and American Academy of Pediatrics.
Q: What are the most common poisons for children?
- Cosmetics such as perfume or nail polish, and personal care products such as deodorant and soap.
- Cleaning products (for example, laundry detergent and floor cleaners).
- Pain medicines (analgesics) such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- Foreign bodies and toys including silica gel packages to remove moisture in packaging and glow products.
- Topical preparations such as diaper rash products, hydrogen peroxide, acne preparations, or calamine lotion.
Q: What are the most common poisons for adults?
- Pain medicines (analgesics) which can be over-the-counter, prescribed, or illegal. Examples include asprin, oxycodone, acetaminophen, methadone, and ibuprofin.
- Sedatives (drugs to reduce anxiety), hypnotics (sleeping pills), and antipsychotics (drugs used to treat mental illness).
- Household cleaning products
- Antidepressants (drugs to treat depression)
- Cardiovascular drugs (drugs to treat heart disease)
Q: What are the most dangerous poisons?
A:The most common poisons are not necessarily the most dangerous ones. Some of the more dangerous types of poisons that could be found in a home include:
- Antifreeze and windshield washer products
- Some medicines
- Corrosive cleaners like drain openers, oven cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners and rust removers
- Fuels such as kerosene, lamp oil, gasoline, and tiki-torch oil
As well, teens and adults should be aware of the dangers of improperly used medications, inhalants, carbon monoxide, and alcohols.
Q:What is the best way to protect children against poisoning?
A: The best defense against unintentional poisoning is prevention. Parents should keep potential poisons locked out of sight and out of reach. Replace child-resistant caps immediately after use, keep all products in their original containers, discard all old medications, and refer to medicine by its correct name – don’t call pills “candy”.
Q: What should a parent do if their child swallows a potentially poisonous substance?
A: When a child swallows a potentially poisonous substance, the advice of a well-trained, well-qualified health professional is needed. Keep the number of the Poison Control Center posted near the phone; the universal number in the U.S. is 1/800-222-1222. Call 9-1-1 if a child is having convulsions, stops breathing or loses consciousness.