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How do children get poisoned?

Children under 5 years of age are the most common poison victims. Kids get into poisons when poisons are not put away properly, the children are not properly supervised, or when you focus your attention on something else even for a second while a product is out and in use. Some possible ways parents and caregivers become focused on something else might be:

  • dinner is being prepared
  • talking on the phone
  • child is left alone in their room
  • watching television
  • someone comes to the door
  • a special event is taking place
  • taking another child to the potty

What is involved?

Poisons can be substances used on a daily basis and are commonly found in the home. Examples include:

  • Medicines
  • Plants
  • Household cleaners
  • Pesticides/herbicides
  • Chemicals
  • Art/hobby supplies
  • Gases, fumes, and vapors from products

Childproofing your home

  • Look at the list of potential poisons in the home
  • Locate all potential poisons and make sure they are put up high and out of reach. (Safety locks and child resistant caps are designed to slow a child down, not be a substitute for supervision)
  • Post the number for Poison Control in your home. 1-800-222-1222

Home Checklist:

Click here for a printable checklist of items to keep out of reach.

Guide to Teaching Children about poisons

Click here for a printable guide.

Poison Look-a-like video

Coming soon!

When you leave your child in someone else’s care

  • Make sure you perform a safety check on any of the rooms your child may be in.
  • Make sure you leave all important information for the caregiver. (Our babysitter guide is an excellent idea!)
  • If your child will be taking medications while being cared for, give the caregiver specific instructions


Palmetto Poison Center home University of South Carolina