OHSU

Poison Q and A

Question: What are some misconceptions or myths about poison-proofing the home?

Myth #1: Putting the poison up high will prevent poisonings.

Children can often learn to climb. This can sometimes occur before they are excellent walkers.

 

Myth #2: The use of "natural" products will prevent poisonings.

Plants are natural and can also be poisonous. Natural home remedies and health food products may sometimes be hazardous to children or adults in certain situations.

 

Myth #3: My child won't eat anything that bad tastes.

Some children are likely to be more adventurous then other children. Still, many children will eat "yucky" or bad tasting things like feces, batteries, coins, mothballs, and tobacco chew spit, roaches and more.

 

Myth #4: All dangerous products are kept behind latched cabinets.

Latches and locks are a great way to reduce access to hazards. But some poisons are left out. This list includes perfume, plants, potpourri, lamp oil, cigarettes and mixed drinks to name a few.

Question: What are some of the most common accidental poisonings?

Answer:

The most common poisonings involve children under the age of six years. They are often found tasting things in or around the house.

  • There are many factors that help create a poisoning event:
  • A change in the family's routine or normal supervision. This includes children attending parties, family reunions, or on vacation.
  • Increased availability of one or more poisons due to an immediate need. For example during cold or flu season, there can be an increased opportunity for children to gain access to the poison each time the bottle near for its use. There can often be unguarded moments.
  • Children can be attracted to "look-alikes." Potential poisons that are "look-alikes" include pills that look a lot like candy, such as pseudoephedrine tablets and red hot candies. There are also liquid poisons that may smell or look a lot like a familiar fruit drink.
  • Liquid poisons that are temporarily transferred in to an empty or recycled bottle or drinking container may be mistaken for something good to drink.

Question: What are the five tips for making your house poison safe?

Answer:

  • Put child proof latches on any cabinet containing potential poisons.
  • Store poisons away from food or drinks.
  • Take care when re-using recyclable containers.
  • Store poisons in their original container.
  • Remove poisonous house and yard plants.
  • Find out if they are toxic by calling the poison center with the identified name.
  • Please visit our Materials Order Form to get a poison prevention guide and sticker with the telephone number on it.
  • You can call 1 800 222-1222 for questions as well as for emergencies.

Question: Do most poisonings involve serious illness and death?

Answer:

Less than 1% of all poison exposures result in death.

It is usually the adults who die as a result of intentional overdose exposures. Surprisingly, more at least 80% of all accidental poisonings can be safely treated at home under the guidance of a regional poison center staff member. Poison centers are available 24 hours a day by calling the national Poison HELP number: 1 800 222-1222.

Question: What are some dangerous household products that people may not be aware of?

Answer:

  • Nicotine in cigarettes, cigarette butts, and nicotine patches can cause seizures if eaten by children.
  • Alcohol containing mouthwash or perfume can cause a child's blood sugar to drop low enough to cause coma.
  • Many pills commonly taken by grandparents can be deadly to a small child.