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Poison Prevention for Toddlers


toddler looking up, holding mother's hand


Accidental poisoning is one of the leading causes of injury in children. And it can be linked to any number of common household products; even hair shampoo can be dangerous.

Here's some advice to help keep your toddler safe:

  • Keep all potential poisons - including alcohol, drugs, medications, vitamins, home-cleaning and personal-care products - in their original containers. Make sure they’re well labeled. Keep them out of reach and locked away.
  • Never refer to medicine or vitamins as candy. Don’t take them in front of your toddler.
  • Never mix household chemicals together. Some mixtures can produce harmful gases.
  • Remove poisonous houseplants from your home, and watch your toddler around plants in other people’s homes.
  • Be careful with your recycle bin: your toddler may want to chew on newspapers, which contain ink that can be harmful in large amounts. Your toddler may also want to suck on magazines or brochures whose bright colours can contain harmful lead.
  • Never expose children to mothballs or their odour.
  • Never leave alcohol unattended. Lock liquor cabinets or use the back of the highest shelf in the refrigerator.
  • Always clear away leftover drinks in the evening. Your toddler may get up early and drink what’s left in the glasses. It doesn't take much alcohol to make a toddler very sick.
  • Secure your diaper pail with a tight fitting lid. Deodorant disks are poisonous.
  • If you buy something poisonous, make sure it has child resistant packaging. Remember that child resistant doesn’t mean childproof and your toddler may still be able to get into it. Lock it up out of reach.
  • Help visitors store their handbags and briefcases in a safe place out of your toddler’s reach. Bags often contain medications.
  • Protect your toddler from lead-based paints, trinkets, mini blinds and other products that contain lead.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

 If you think your toddler has been poisoned:

  • Call the BC Poison Control Centre immediately: 1-800-567-8911.
  • Have the following information ready: 
    • the name of the substance you think may be poisonous
    • the amount your toddler took
    • when your toddler took it
  • Follow the first aid instructions on the label of any product that’s been taken.
  • Get medical help by going to your hospital emergency. Take the container and label with you. Call 9-1-1 if you don’t have a way to get to the hospital quickly.

BC Drug and Poison Info

For more information on poisonous substances, visit the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre website.

Did You Know?

Most child poisonings occur just before lunch and just before dinner. This is when children are hungry and less supervised.

Last Updated: August 10, 2013