February 25, 2011


HOHENWALD, Tenn.—According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, more than one million American children under the age of five are exposed to potential poisons in their homes each year. Lewis Health Center (LHC) offers tips to parents and caregivers on preventing poisoning.

“Some of the most common sources of childhood poisoning include medicines, cleaning substances and cosmetics,” said Dr. Andrei Androssov, a physician at LHC. “It is important to take the proper precautions to keep these materials away from children and to know what to do if poisoning does occur.”

To prevent a child from coming into contact with potentially poisonous household substances, parents should take the following precautions:

  • Keep all medicines and household cleaners out of the reach of children, preferably in a locked cabinet
  • Never leave medicines or household chemicals unattended while being used
  • Tightly close the lids on child-resistant packages
  • Keep items in original containers with the original label in place
    Never refer to medicine as “candy”
  • Safely dispose of any outdated or unnecessary medications
  • Never store a poisonous substance in a container which could allow it to be mistaken for food or drink


If you suspect a child has ingested a poisonous substance, call the National Poison Hotline at 1.800.222.1222 or dial 911. Be prepared to provide information such as the victim’s age and weight, what substance is involved and how long ago it was ingested. Have the label of the poisonous substance in hand to give to emergency personnel.

“By taking a few simple steps, parents and caregivers can eliminate much of the risk of a child coming into contact with a poisonous substance,” said Androssov. “Keep emergency phone numbers handy and call 911 immediately if you think a child has come into contact with a harmful substance.”