LHSC offers tips to keep children safe from accidental poisoning

March 20, 2013

It is estimated that seven children (under the age of 14) die every year in Canada from poisoning and approximately 1,700 are hospitalized for poison related injuries. To recognize National Poison Prevention Week, London Health Sciences Centre’s Trauma Program is sharing important tips to help keep our children safe from accidental harm.

Poison is defined as any substance that causes harm to the body if swallowed, inhaled or in contact with skin or mucous membranes. Some substances are also poisonous if they are injected. Poisons can cause a wide variety of symptoms, ranging from a mild reaction to a serious illness or even possible death.  

Tips to keep children safe from poisoning:

Safe Use

  • Don’t take medication in front of your children as kids tend to imitate others
  • Don’t refer to medication as candy
  • Take and give medications as prescribed and read labels carefully
  • Check expiration dates

Safe Storage

  • Lock up all medications, household cleaners, alcohol, fertilizers, pesticides, paint thinners and anti-freeze
  • Keep all medications and household products in their original containers/packaging
  • Do not keep your medication in the bathroom as heat and moisture can spoil them

 Safe Disposal

  • Clear out old prescriptions and expired medications
  • Do not throw old/expired medications in the garbage or down the toilet
  • Return unused medication to your pharmacist for safe disposal

What to do if someone is poisoned: 

  • Be careful not to taste, touch or breathe in the poison yourself  
  • Call the Poison Centre
  • If the person is unconscious, convulsing, or having trouble breathing or swallowing, call 911 immediately

Ontario Poison Control contact information:

Phone Number:  416-813-5900 
Toll-Free:  1-800-268-9017 
Teletype:  416-597-0215 or 1-877-750-2233 
Website:  www.ontariopoisoncentre.com 



Ontario Poison Centre. (2007). Education: for families.
Safe Kids Canada. (2007). Child and youth unintentional injury: 10 years in review, 1994-2003.