Poisoning prevention

Updated September 19th, 2018

Many things in our homes put young children at risk of poisoning. Medications, cleaning products, personal care products and some household plants can all be poisonous to a young child. Even a small amount can make your child very sick. To a child some common household products can look like candy, juice or chewing gum.
Parents should go through every room to check for poisoning hazards.

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Tips for preventing poisoning


  • Medications include over-the-counter drugs (pain killers, vitamins), prescribed medication and herbal supplements
  • Keep all medications in the original child-resistant packaging
  • Store medications “out of sight and locked up tight” so that children do not have access to them. The best choice is a locked box kept out of your child’s reach. Lock up medications with child resistant caps as well as children can take the caps off.
  • Do not call medicine or vitamins candy.
  • Take old, unused or expired medications to the pharmacy for safe disposal.
  • When giving your child medicine check the label to make sure you are giving the correct amount.
  • Keep visitors’ purses and bags out of your child’s reach as they may have medications in them

In and around the home

  • Store cleaners, bleach, pesticides, antifreeze and other household products in their original containers. Keep them locked up and out of reach.
  • Teach older children hazard symbols on containers.
  • Many items in the bathroom can be harmful to your child. Be sure to keep the following items out of reach:
    • bathroom, shower or tile cleaners
    • nail polish remover, mouthwash, perfumes and aftershaves
    • toilet bowl and drain cleaners
  • Avoid laundry and dishwasher pods. These strong cleaning products look like candy and appeal to children. They can case burns and illness. It is safest to use powdered or liquid detergents. If you do use pods store them out of your child’s sight and reach.
  • Keep children away from cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Nicotine is dangerous to young children. “Vape juice”, the liquid used in e-cigarettes, can harm a child if swallowed. Keep cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vape juice locked up and out of children’s reach
  • Keep all cannabis products out of sight and reach of children. While edible cannabis may look like a harmless snack to your child, it can be poisonous.
  • Store fertilizers, gasoline, paints and anti-freeze where children can’t access them.
  • Check to see if your houseplants are poisonous. Get rid of poisonous plants.
If you think that your child may have swallowed something poisonous…
  • Stay calm
  • If your child has collapsed or is not breathing, call 911
If your child is awake and alert, call the Manitoba Poison Centre at 1-855-776-4766
Emergency responders will want to know…
  • your child’s age and weight
  • What was swallowed.  Show them the container of medication or poison if possible
  • when the poison was swallowed
  • the address where the poisoning happened
Stay on the phone and follow the instructions from the emergency operator or poison control center.

Related links

Poisoning prevention

Household cleaning products, medications and even some house plants are among the things that can be toxic to children. Read more on how to keep your child safe.

Read More