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Poison Prevention

Poison Safety

Deaths caused by accidental injuries have decreased over 50 percent since the 1980s. However, since the 1990s, deaths caused by accidental poisonings have doubled. Following a few simple safety steps can help prevent accidental poisonings.

If a poisoning does happen, call the North Texas Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 (add this number to your cell phone right now). Calls are answered by nurses and pharmacists and 80 percent of them are handled at home, without going to the Emergency Room. Call 9-1-1 if your child won't wake up, is having trouble breathing or is having seizures.

Tour Your Home

Is your home a danger zone for your child? Take a tour of your home inside and out and look for the dangers we've outlined below. The little time it takes to do this can help to prevent a lifetime of tragedy as the result of a poisoning accident.

  • Safe storage
  • Safe dosing
  • Safe disposal
  • Safe kids

Medications

To a child, the colors and shapes of pills may not look harmful, instead, they may look more like candy treats. The same goes for liquid medications. And it doesn't take much medication in a small body to cause a bad and sometimes tragic reaction. That's why it's so important to store cold medications, prescription drugs, over-the-counter pain medicine (especially those made for children because they are flavored and colored to help make it easier to dose children), and even vitamins up high in a locked or child-proofed cabinet.

It's also critical to follow directions when giving medicine to your child. Double dosing will NOT be twice as effective, and in some instances can cause an emergency reaction. Heed the warnings and follow package or physician directions.

If you have unused or expired medications in your home, it's important to remove them. However, don't just throw them away or flush them down the sink or toilet. For safety reasons, they need to be properly disposed of at designated drop off locations.

Household products

There are many household products found both in and outside of the home the home that can pose risk to little ones. Before a small child is able to read, they associate things by vision. A brightly colored plastic bottle may look like the juice from the refrigerator instead of soap or antifreeze. Colorful liquids may appear to them to be a soft drink or sport drink instead of a household cleaner. And because little fingers go into mouths, noses, and ears, just touching the residue on household chemical containers can be harmful. Also, be sure to check the bathroom and dressing areas of your home. Toothpaste, soaps, liquids like body wash, perfumes, lotions, mouthwash, etc..., look pretty, but contain ingredients that can be hurtful when swallowed by tots.

Toys

Kids will put just about anything in their mouths, like bubble solution, clays, paints, crayons, etc. Be sure to read labels, follow manufacturers age recommendations and, when it doubt, keep these items up on higher shelves, out of reach of curious hands.

Did you know?

  • 75% of the poisonings we see at Cook Children's are medication related?
  • Children 5 and younger are most at risk because they can't read and put everything in their mouth.

Help us spread the word

Help us protect kids from accidental poisoning. Please feel free to use our messaging below or create your own. To use our messaging, all you have to do is copy the messages we've provided below and insert the appropriate photo into whichever social media site you use. We do ask that you keep #poisonprevention in the message.

Social media messages to help us share

Do you know which one is candy? Kids don't either.
To kids, pills may not look harmful because they may be the same color and shape as candy. It is important to store all types of medication locked up and out of a child’s reach. Practice safe storage, safe dosing and safe disposal. #poisonprevention

which one is candy

Be sure to lock up your medications.
Kids are curious and often learn by putting things in their mouths. Help them learn what is okay to touch and keep medication and cleaning products locked up and out of reach. Practice safe storage, safe dosing and safe disposal. #poisonprevention

lock up medications

Read the label to make sure you're giving your child the proper dosage.
It is critical to follow directions when giving medicine to your child. Double dosing is not twice as effective, and may be toxic for a child’s body. Practice safe storage, safe dosing and safe disposal. #poisonprevention

proper dosage

Adults may know this is a cleaning product. Does a child see something different?
Kids are attracted to bright colors. Young children who cannot read may see colorful labels or liquids and think it’s juice when really it’s a household cleaner. Even simple laundry pods can be dangerous. The pods are soft and colorful but have harmful residue if absorbed in their mouths, noses, or ears. Practice safe storage, safe dosing and safe disposal. #poisonprevention

children see something different

More than 60% of poisonings seen at Cook Children's are medication related.
Little kids are curious and still figuring things. Make sure their curiosity doesn’t get the best of them (and you) and remember to put all medications in a locked box in an out-of-reach, safe area. #poisonprevention

most poisonings are medication related

Deaths by accidental poisonings have doubled since the 1990s.
Take the time to tour your house and make sure that medications, pill boxes, household cleaners, and even product such as mouthwash and soap are out of reach from your little one’s hands. #poisonprevention

death by accidental poisoning

Is your home a danger zone?
Take a tour of your home inside and out and look for easy access to medication, pill boxes, household cleaners, and even products such as mouthwash and soap. The little time it takes to do this can help prevent a lifetime of tragedy as the result of a poisoning accident. #poisonprevention

prevent poisoning accidents at home

Do you know how to dispose of your medication?
If you have unused or expired medications in your home, it’s important to remove them. However, don’t just throw them away or flush them down the sink or toilet. Instead, they need to be properly disposed of at designated drop off locations. #poisonprevention Find a drop off location near you.

designated drop off locations

Download all social media graphics

More information

For more information, please contact Dana Walraven, Safe Kids Tarrant County coordinator at 682-885-1619 or email safe.kids@cookchildrens.org.

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