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Poison Prevention

If you believe you or someone you know has been
poisoned, call the Poison Control Hotline

1-800-222-1222.

We all try our best to keep our children safe from dangerous or hazardous situations.  Sometimes we forget that common items around our house, in our medicine cabinet, or plants and critters in our yard might be harmful to our children.

Children are very curious and adventurous.  They aren’t aware of all the things that can hurt them. Toddlers often explore their world by putting things into their mouths. They will even eat things that taste and smell bad!  Safeguard your home against potentially poisonous items that your children could get in to. Check to make sure that items are properly stored and out of the reach of small children and pets. Try to teach your children to always ask first before they touch, taste, or smell an item.

Use these tips below as a starting point:

Home Safety Tips

  • Safety latches will not keep children out of cabinets and drawers, but they will slow children down. Make sure all products are stored up high in secured or locked cabinets.
  • Cosmetic and personal care products are the leading cause of accidental poisonings by children under age 6.  Make sure to treat your cosmetics and personal care products as potential poisons and store them in a secure location.
  • Toothpaste containing fluoride can be potentially toxic to youngsters who eat large quantities.
  • All medicines should have child resistant caps and be locked away from children.
  • Even though a product has a child safety cap, remember -- It is only child resistant, not childproof! Children can and do manage to open these caps.
  • Dangers in the bedroom include medicines, such as sleeping pills or vitamins, left on night stands or in unlocked suitcases.  This is especially common when relatives or visitors are staying at your home.
  • Substances such as gasoline, kerosene, charcoal lighter fluid, paints, paint thinner and remover, turpentine, antifreeze, fertilizers, and automotive products could produce serious injury if swallowed.  All of these substances must be stored up high enough to be out of children's reach or locked up out of sight.

The top 5 poisons commonly ingested by children:

  • Household cleaners
  • Medications
  • Cosmetics and personal care products
  • Foreign bodies (coins, watch batteries)
  • Plants, berries and mushrooms

Prescription drugs are those drugs that have been approved by a doctor. Children and adults alike should only take drugs that were prescribed to them personally in the amount that the doctor ordered.

Poison Centers get hundreds of calls every year regarding bug bites and stings. While they are uncomfortable, very few bites are life threatening. The main concern after an insect sting is an allergic reaction, which may come on quickly or gradually. Signs of allergic reaction may include:

  • itching & swelling beyond the bite site
  • chest discomfort
  • difficulty breathing/speaking/swallowing
  • feeling faint/nervous

If these problems occur, call 911 or seek medical attention immediately.

Florida has beautiful plants throughout the state, but some of these plants can be a poisoning risk if ingested or touched.  Here are some of the most common house and garden plants that can be poisonous:


Dieffenbachia
Dieffenbachia
Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy
Autumn Crocus
Autumn Crocus
Caladium
Caladium
Oleander
Oleander
Croton
Croton
Philodendron
Philodendron
Foxglove Foxglove
Foxglove
Poinsettia
Poinsettia
Peace Lily
Peace Lily
Lantana
Lantana
Wild Mushrooms
Wild Mushrooms

Parents should also be mindful of any unidentifiable berries or fruits because they may be poisonous as well

The Florida Poison Centers’ Information Network is an emergency resource in cases of possible poisonings and a source of educational information on what hazardous materials we may have in our homes or gardens. The Poison Information Network is available 24-hours a day at 1-800-222-1222. Specially trained personnel respond to emergency calls about poisonings and provide educational information to professionals and communities throughout the state.

For more information on Poison Control Centers, visit the Florida Poison Information Center Network web site.