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Ohio State University Extension


Preschool: Caution—Is Your Home Safe?

Backpack Buddies for April
Family and Consumer Sciences
Author: Rose Fisher Merkowitz, Extension Educator–Family and Consumer Sciences, Highland County.
Revised by: Betsy DeMatteo, Extension Program Coordinator–Family and Consumer Sciences, Hamilton County.

Accidental poisoning is one of the major causes of death among small children. Many parents are guilty of not placing poisonous products out of the reach of children. Little ones are very curious and love to explore. According to the Cincinnati, Ohio Drug and Poison Information Center, 79 percent of all its cases involve children. Of that 79 percent, 64 percent were under 5 years of age, and 15 percent were over 5 years of age. So parents, beware of all poisonous items in your home.

Can Your Child Reach the Poisonous Items in Your Home?

Small children will eat and drink just about anything. Keep all liquid and solids that may be poisonous out of their reach. Medicines look very tasty to small children. Grandparents and parents should use the child-proof medicine bottles whenever there is a chance young children will be around. Be sure to keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children and never refer to it as "candy." Destroy outdated medicines by pouring them down a drain or toilet, and rinse the container before discarding.

Remember, children learn by watching their parents and/or other siblings. When you use a poisonous product, put it away in a safe place immediately. Children do not realize that what is safe for an older person may be extremely harmful to them. Keep an up-to-date bottle of syrup of ipecac (found in your local drug store) on hand, in case of an emergency.

Keep poisonous products in their original containers. Never place them in a cup, because it may appear to a child to be milk, pop, or a fruit punch. All products have directions on the label about proper use, storage, and disposal. Read the labels on household products carefully. Keep all poisonous products stored in a separate location from your food, so you or any other family member does not mistake a poisonous product for a food item. According to the Cincinnati, Ohio Drug and Poison Information Center, 41 percent of all the poisonings occur in the kitchen, 21 percent in the bathroom, 12 percent in the bedroom, and 26 percent in other places in the household.

If you need information or assistance with a poisoned victim, contact your local Drug and Poison Information Center. It is important to place this number beside your telephone in case of an emergency.


Drug and Poison Information Center (2010). Poisoning Statistics. Accessed March 22, 2010 from Cincinnati Children's website:

There are eight safety hazards in this picture. How many can you and your child find? Have your child color it when you find all the items.

Source: Cooperative Extension Service–University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign.

Edited by: Rose Fisher Merkowitz, Extension Educator–Family and Consumer Sciences, Highland County; Kathy L. Jelley, Extension Educator–Family and Consumer Sciences, Brown County; and Scott Scheer, Professor and Extension Specialist–Human and Community Resource Development and 4-H Youth Development, The Ohio State University.

Originally posted Jan 23, 2015.