In the United States poisoning is the fourth leading cause of death among children ( most frequently seen in children under age 5). As an adult, it is easy to forget that an everyday household item, such as soap or cleansers, carelessly left on a table or on the floor can turn into a deadly snack for a child who will try to eat or drink anything they can get their hands on. If you take a few minutes now to poison proof your home, you can save yourself and your family a lot of heartache in the future.

Remember children are naturally curious, store all poisonous substances out of their reach; in locked cabinets or cabinets secured with safety latches. Store all potentially poisonous substances in their original containers. Never put poisonous substances in old food containers such as juice or soda bottles or jars with screw caps.

Always use child resistant packaging, but be aware that children can and have opened these containers. Teach children not to touch or eat anything they don’t recognize. Never call medicine candy. Never take medicine in front of children or allow them to play with medication containers.

Flush old or unused medications down the toilet before discarding the containers. Before using any product read and follow all directions. If you suspect a poisoning ,call your regional Poison Control Center, for N.Y.C. the number is 1-212-764-7667. (1-212-POISONS). Remain calm and make sure you have the following information available: your name and telephone number, age and approximate weight of person poisoned: name of product, estimated time of ingestion and amount of product swallowed. If the person is unconscious or showing signs of change in mental status, call 911 immediately. Do not give home remedies or try to induce vomiting. Remember poisons can be found in seemingly harmless products such as cosmetics, vitamins, arts and crafts or office supplies. If you have small children or pets speak to a florist regarding plants in your home or garden, since many have toxic leaves or berries. If a child swallows something poisonous, how quickly you act may save his or her life.

For free information on poisoning contact: NYS Health Department Box 2000, Albany, N.Y. 12220