Keeping Young Children Poison - Free

Children under the age of six are at greatest risk for becoming poisoned .  In fact, nearly one-half of the poisoning cases managed by the New Mexico Poison Center involve chidren under the age of six years. 

Several factors, such as boundless curiosity, can contribute to the poisoning of a young child; however research shows that most childhood poisonings occur when a product is in use. Therefore, it is important to take care when using a potentially poisonous product.  Never leave a child alone with a poisonous product.  If you become distracted while using a poisonous product, for example by the doorbell or telephone, always take the child with you.

Keep all medicine, personal care and household products locked up, where children cannot see them or reach them.

Prevention Tips

Medicine

girl looking in the medicine cabinet

  • Use child-resistant caps correctly, but remember child-resistant does not mean child-proof.
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  • Keep medicines in their original, labeled, child-resistant containers.
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  • Follow label instructions and warnings.
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  • Call medicine "medicine" not "candy."  Medicines often look and taste like candy.
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  • Do not take medicines in front of children because children imitate adults.

Personal Care and Household Products

Child under six years of age

  • Store products in their original, labeled containers.
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  • Read labels and follow directions carefully.
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  • Store poisonous products away from food so there is no confusion.
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  • Do not mix household products together.

Plants and Mushrooms

  • Know the names of your house and yard plants, and know which ones are poisonous.  Download our Poisonous Plants in New Mexico brochure (pdf).
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  • Keep all plants, bulbs, and seeds where children cannot reach them.
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  • Teach children to never eat any part of a plant, berries or outdoor mushrooms.

Household Chemicals and Cleaners

  • candy & detergent packsHousehold Chemicals: Bleaches, detergents, furniture polish, cleansers, drain and toilet bowl cleaners, antifreeze, gasoline, paints and varnishes.
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  • Household chemicals and cleaners often look and smell like food and drink.  Store household cleaners and chemicals away from food and drink to avoid confusion.
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  • Keep household products in their store-bought containers.  Toxic products often come in child-resistant packaging. 

General

  • Supervise children and never leave a child alone with a poisonous product.
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  • Teach children to ask a trusted adult first before putting anything into their mouths.
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  • Install safety latches on cabinets and drawers.
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  • Teach small children to “ask an adult first” before putting anything into their mouths.
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  • Store purses and diaper bags out of the sight and reach of children as poisonous substances are often kept in these totes.
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  • Keep hard liquor out of reach; as little as 3 ounces could be deadly to a child weighing 25 pounds or less.
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  • Install carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms and on each floor of your home. 
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  • Keep all batteries out of the reach of children; tape battery compartments for extra precaution
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  • Share this information with grandparents, family, friends, caregivers and babysitters.
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  • Place the Poison Center telephone number, 1-800-222-1222, on or near your phone so it is easy to find in an emergency.

Additional Resources

  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site offers tools to help parents keep their children safe from poisons.
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  • The Danger Rangers is an award winning animated series that teaches children (pre - K through 3rd grade) positive role modeling and lifesaving problem solving skills in a variety of injury related areas. Videos, family activities, lesson plans and prevention tips are available.
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  • The SafeKids Web site offers information on poison prevention for children of all age groups.  Additional injury prevention information, such as fire safety, can also be found at this Web site.
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  • The Up and Away Web site, an initiative of the Centers of Disease Control and PROTECT, educates parents about medication safety and children.
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  • Visit our Tweens and Teens page to find out more about how you can protect older children from the substances of abuse, such as synthetic drugs, that are a common cause of poisonings among this age group.
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  • Visit our News and Events page to find out about the latest poisoning trends and to learn more about scheduled presentations and important events, such as the National Poison Prevention Week.  Parents can check this page to find out about dangerous products and substances of abuse that could be a potential threat to their children.
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