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A component of the Canadian Medication Incident Reporting and Prevention System (CMIRPS).

Medication Safety Tips

Home Safety: Prevent Poisonings That Occur at Home

Poisoning is a common cause of injuries in Canada. A recent publication of the British Columbia (BC) Research and Prevention Unit reported that poisoning accounted for more than 20% of injury-related hospitalizations and deaths in BC. Over 60% of all poisoning-related deaths were accidental.1

Young children are often poisoned by things found in the home, such as cleaning products, medications and cosmetics. Children like attractive packaging and good smells. They are drawn to the colourful products.

In order to keep your home safe, remember to:

  • Survey your home for poisons. Keep medications and all harmful substances out of sight and reach of children. Use safety locks on cabinets and drawers wherever hazardous products are stored.
  • Never leave a child alone with a medication or hazardous product. If you are called to the phone or door when you are using a medication or hazardous product, take the product (and the child!) with you.
  • Teach children to always ask a grown-up first before tasting, touching or smelling anything.
  • Be sure to store poisons in their original containers. Never store hazardous products in drink or food containers.
  • Store medications in child-resistant containers whenever possible. Never leave the caps loose. Remember that child-resistant containers are not "child-proof" – children can sometimes open them.
  • Avoid taking medicines in front of children. Young children often imitate grown-ups and may take them on their own at a later time.
  • Never call medicine candy. Medicine and candy look a lot alike and children often cannot tell them apart.

More information on preventing poisonings is available on the websites of the Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres and Safe Kids Canada.

This information was adapted with the permission of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, using material originally published on the site

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