Poisoning Prevention

This page has been automatically translated from English. MSDH has not reviewed this translation and is not responsible for any inaccuracies.

More than 90% of child and adult poisonings occur in the home.

You can avoid accidental poisonings by safely storing the dangerous substances in your home.

Protecting Children

The most common causes of poisoning among young children are:

  • cosmetics and personal care products
  • household cleaning products
  • pain relievers

Protect children by taking sensible precautions:

  • Be prepared: Put the poison help center number, 1-800-222-1222, near every telephone and save it on your cell phone. The line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Store all medicines and household products out of reach and out of sight of children. Don't put your next dose on a surface where children can reach it – it only takes seconds for a child to take it.
  • Read labels to find the correct dosage for medicines, and to learn about possible drug interactions. Obey the instructions for safe use on chemical container labels.
  • Don’t keep it if you don’t need it. Safely dispose of unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs and over the counter drugs, vitamins and supplements. To dispose of medicines, mix them with coffee grounds or cat litter and throw them away. You can also turn them in at a local take-back program or during National Drug Take-Back events.
  • Be aware of lead hazards: A major source of lead poisoning among U.S. children is lead-based paint. All houses built before 1978 are likely to contain some lead in the paint, and it becomes dangerous when it is flaking or peeling. Other sources of lead around the home may include traditional home remedies, ceramics, metal toys and toy jewelry, lead-contaminated soil, and water pipes. Find out more

Protecting Adults

Common causes among adults are pain relievers, prescription drugs, sedatives, cleaning products, and antidepressants.

  • Only take prescription medications that are prescribed to you by a healthcare professional. Misusing or abusing prescription or over-the-counter medications is not safe.
  • Never take larger or more frequent doses of your medications, especially pain medications, to try to get faster or more powerful results.
  • Keep medicines in their original bottles or containers, and read their labels before using.
  • Never share or sell your prescription drugs.
  • Monitor the use of medicines prescribed for children and teenagers.
  • Dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs properly. More about proper disposal

For More Information

The American Association of Poison Control Centers has many poisoning prevention tips:

Last reviewed on Dec 19, 2018 request edits
Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866‑HLTHY4U Contact and information

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