Chemical Poisoning in the Home


Many ordinary household items can be poisonous, from medicines and makeup to bug spray and cleaning products. They can tempt curious toddlers and young children who like to investigate things. “Most things in the house can be a potential hazard for kids, and even things you might not think about can be a danger to a small child,” says Dr. Lilit Minasyan. “It’s due to the natural curiosity of toddlers and small children. Kids are mobile and can get into things. They want to put everything in their mouths.”


Prevention measures at home are critical, notes Dr. Minasyan. “You don’t want to keep cleaners and things like that under the kitchen sink. Kids can get into those cabinets easily. Lock cabinets and put everything in the higher cabinets, including household cleaning products and medications. Give the kids one more obstacle to go through. And store all chemicals, medicines and toxic products in their original containers, not in food containers or soda bottles that kids will want to drink from.” Dr. Minasyan also advises checking your garage for dangerous substances like antifreeze (which looks like green Gatorade) so they can be locked up, too.


For help, call the nationwide poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Memorize this number, program it into your cell phone and place it near every landline telephone in your home, says Dr. Minasyan. Parents should not hesitate to call the center for help or advice if they think their child has been poisoned, even if he is awake and alert. Call 911 if your child has collapsed or is not breathing, adds Dr. Minasyan.

Dr. Minasyan - CHOC Pediatric Emergency Physician

Dr. Lilit Minasyan works in the Emergency Department at CHOC. She completed her internship and residency at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at Loma Linda University Medical Center. Dr. Minasyan enjoys training medical residents in various subjects involving pediatrics and emergency medicine. She also recently completed a term on CHOC’s Medical Executive Committee.

Dr. Minasyan’s philosophy of care: “Every child I see is a priority patient, and I try to involve the family as active participants in their child’s health care.”

Saint Louis University School of Medicine

Pediatric Emergency Medicine

Keep Your Children Safe from Poisoning

National Poison Prevention Week is March 18-24. To keep your children safe from poisonous substances lurking around your home, check out the tips below recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Keep the poison control number, 1-800-222-1222, on or near every home telephone and save it on your cell phone. The line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Danger symbols on a container

CHOC Radio Podcast: Medication Safety in the Home

Dr. Shannon Bertagnoli

Every 10 minutes in the United States, there’s a child under the age of 6 taken to an emergency department for medication poisoning. Most of the incidents occur in the home, a CHOC pharmacist tells CHOC Radio.

In podcast No. 23, Dr. Shannon Bertagnoli offers tips to help prevent children from getting into medications.

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