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Dos and Don'ts: Poison Safety

The third week of March is National Poison Prevention Week, a perfect time to remember the dangers of poison and how you can prevent them. More than 90% of poisonings occur in the home, and these tips can help you and your loved ones stay safe.

Photo of a family posing with a dog.
Keep all members of your family safe by storing chemicals properly and following label directions.


Be prepared

Keep the Poison Help phone number— 1-800-222-1222 — handy in case of an emergency, and immediately call your local poison center if you think you or someone you know has been poisoned.

Prepare food properly

Make sure raw meats, eggs and poultry are properly stored and fully cooked to prevent food poisoning. Then, refrigerate the leftovers within two hours. Avoid wild mushrooms unless you're 100% sure they're safe.

Spread the word

The best way to prevent poisoning is to learn about the risks and talk about them with others. Explain the potential dangers to your friends and family, and make sure everyone knows what to do if someone is poisoned.


Ignore label directions

Read and follow all medicine labels, especially before giving medicine to children. Never share your medicine with someone else or use medicine that's not yours, and always take the correct dosage.

Leave chemical bottles open

Storing dangerous chemicals properly is important to avoid accidental poisoning. Always keep chemicals in their original containers with the lids sealed tight. Store them up high and out of reach of children and pets.

Forget to check detectors

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas, but it can lead to severe illness and even death. Protect your family by regularly testing your carbon monoxide detectors and changing the batteries.

Almost everything can be poisonous if taken in the wrong amount, by the wrong person or in the wrong way. That makes it even more important for you and your family to fully understand the risks. See the Poison Prevention Week Planner — provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration — for more tips and ways to educate your community with a poison awareness event of your own.

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