Five common household products that can poison your child

Consumer Reports News: March 19, 2013 02:08 PM

Every day two children die and more than 300 kids under the age of 19 are treated in emergency rooms as a result of unintentional poisoning. In fact, over the last decade, there's been an 80 percent increase in child poisoning deaths. During National Poison Prevention Week, experts are reminding parents about the everyday products in their homes that put children at risk. Here are the five most common household culprits, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, and how to keep them secure in your home.

Cosmetics and personal care products.
The number-one substance causing child poisonings in 2011, the most recent year for which we have data, was personal care products. Keep your makeup, skin- and hair-care products, and other toiletries secured in drawers or cabinets with child locks, or on shelves out of your child's reach. Products such as nail-polish remover can seriously harm a child.

Analgesics (painkillers).
Whether you keep them in the bathroom, bedroom or kitchen, store painkillers out of sight and out of reach. Don't leave a bottle on a bedside stand or other low, accessible furniture. And to discourage copy-cat behavior, don't take medication while your child is watching. If you're giving your little one medicine, don't call it candy.

Household cleaners. While it's more convenient to store your bathroom and kitchen cleaners within reach close to or under the sink, all of these products should be stored in cabinets with a lock or on a high shelf. And keep them in their original containers, which may have a childproof closure, and not in bottles that resemble food or drink containers. Single-dose laundry pods are the latest threat in this category.

In the event of a poisoning incident, you'll need to give the poison-control center vital information listed on the container and the label. Bleach and drain cleaner are just two common household cleaners that can be fatal to children.

Toys and small items. Toys and other small items found around the house, including holiday decorations, coins, and desiccants—those small packets in bottles of medication or shoe boxes—are just some of the culprits in this category. Keep batteries and small magnets away from children and supervise them when they're using arts and craft supplies. Even bubble-blowing solution is a hazard.

Topical preparations. Diaper rash creams, acne medications, and calamine and camphor-based ointments and lotions are poisonous when ingested. After every diaper change, put your diaper change products, including baby powder, out of your child's reach.

In an emergency, call 1-800-222-1222. Keep the phone number of the poison control center programmed into your cell phone and on display in several locations around your home.

Artemis DiBenedetto

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Health News


Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings


Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more