Preventing Accidental Poisoning – Tips to Keep Your Home Safe

Person using inhalents

Each year, around 50,000 people in Kentucky call the poison control hotline. Most accidental poisonings can be avoided with simple preparation in the home. National Poison Prevention Week is March 21 to 27, so we put together some easy-to-follow tips to help you monitor and dispose of harmful substances to keep your loved ones safe.

Be Aware of Harmful Household Chemicals and Signs of Abuse
Commonly used substances like paint thinner, gasoline and cleaning supplies can be harmful and potentially fatal if ingested or inhaled. Prevent accidental poisoning:

  • Read and follow the directions on product labels.
  • Keep harmful chemicals out of reach and if possible, locked up.
  • Monitor the use of household cleaning products. Ask yourself if they are in the right place or if they are being used faster than normal? Are you finding solvent-soaked rags or smelly plastic bags? When teaching children to avoid drugs, tobacco and alcohol, you should also teach them about the dangers of inhalants.
  • Be aware of the signs of inhalant abuse, such as irritation around the mouth and nose and solvent odors on breath and clothing. Visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse for more information.

Store and Dispose of Medications Safely
Prescription and over-the-counter medications you keep in your home can be harmful to children if not used properly. Keep yourself and loved ones safe:

  • Read the label before taking or giving anyone medicine. Follow instructions exactly.
  • Monitor older children closely when you allow them to take medicines on their own.
  • If you have young children, use this awareness week to talk to them about substances in your homes that are not safe for children to consume.
  • Dispose of unused, expired or unwanted prescription medications. Find a disposal location in Kentucky by clicking here.   

Know the Kentucky Poison Control Hotline
Poisoning by medication is common. Being prepared and acting quickly saves lives. Make sure you have the Kentucky Poison Control Hotline 1.800.222.1222 posted on the fridge and saved on your phone. For more information including tips for babysitters, parents and home safety checklists visit The Kentucky Poison Control Center.

Talking about harmful substances in your home can also lay the groundwork for conversations about the harms of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. For more substance use prevention resources, contact the New Vista Regional Prevention Center at [email protected] or call 859.225.3296.