Top tips to avoid an accidental poisoning

by | May 23, 2024 | Health and Wellness

When you hear the word poison, it may conjure up images of classic murder mysteries and detective stories. And yet unintentional poisonings are a leading cause of preventable injury and death in Canada. Medications, cannabis, household cleaning products like bleach, beauty products like nail polish remover and car supplies like windshield fluid are all common sources of unintentional poisonings.

Here are some ways you can help keep yourself and your family safe.

Stick to the original packaging

Keeping medications and products in their original packaging ensures the product is labelled correctly and helps you avoid dangerous mix-ups. You’ll also have the usage and safety instructions right there on the container, so you don’t have to guess on how to handle, store or dispose of the product.

Teach poison prevention

Little kids learn by putting things in their mouths. So, in addition to baby-proofing your home, be sure to talk to your older children about being safe. Teach them that hazard symbols mean “Do not touch.” You don’t have to scare them, but simple things like not referring to vitamins or medications as candies, which might make them more enticing to children, can help prevent unintentional poisonings. Also teach kids to ask a trusted adult before snacking on something they find laying around or in the outdoors, like wild berries or plants in your garden.

Store safely

Child-resistant caps on medications can make unintentional poisonings less common, so they serve a purpose. But they aren’t fully childproof either. Tightly close medications, vitamins and household products like perfume or laundry detergent right away. Store these items out of reach, out of sight and locked away. If you can, keep products that could catch fire or give off harmful gases in a shed or garage not attached to your ventilation system.

Know who to call

Knowing who to call when a poisoning occurs can be lifesaving. The toll-free number for poison centres in most of Canada is 1-844 POISON-X. In Quebec, call 1-800-463-5060. Saving this number in your phone may save your back someday. Adding it to your emergency plan documents is also a good idea.

Find additional information on poison centres at infopoison.ca

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