Poison Proofing Your Home

The Missouri Poison Center receives a call every 7 minutes – 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Let us teach you how to keep your home poison safe.

Poison Proofing Your Home

  • Take a tour of your home at a child’s level and through a child’s eye.
  • Close your eyes and pretend for a moment that you are a hungry, thirsty and very curious little child who is exploring your home looking for something to eat, drink, play or touch. You can’t read labels so you rely on your most basic instincts and senses to understand the world around you. Your world is centered on taste, sight, touch and smell.
  • Now, open your eyes and look around your home. Are there any common household products stored within your child’s reach that might be appealing because of the way they taste, look, feel or smell? When used correctly, household products are safe and useful. However, if they get into a child’s hands, they may be poisonous if swallowed or splashed in the eyes or on the skin.

The Basics
Poison Prevention at Home

  • Lock up medicines and household products, out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store products in their original containers, never in food or drink containers.
  • Use child-resistant packages and put the tops on tightly.
  • Return the household products and medicines to their proper storage place immediately after use.
  • Don’t let children watch adults taking medicine. (Children like to imitate adults.)
  • Always read the label and follow the directions on medicines and products.
  • Call medicines by their proper names. Never call it candy.
  • Begin teaching safety rules to children at an early age.

Home Poison Safety Checklist

Make your home safe from poisons. Go through each room of your house and make sure that all possible poisons on this list are properly closed, locked up, or stored out of reach of young children and pets.

Poison Safety Home Checklist

How to Dispose of Medicines Properly

The best way to dispose of medication is through drug take-back programs. These are often offered at law enforcement agencies, pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics in your community.

If a medication disposal program is not available in your area, unwanted or expired medications should be thrown in the trash.

Follow these steps:

  1. Take your drugs out of their original containers.
  2. Liquids should be poured over paper towels, kitty litter, or coffee grounds. Place tightly wrapped mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty margarine tub, or into a sealable bag.
  3. Solids (pills, capsules, tablets) may be mixed with undesirable substances such as coffee grounds or kitty litter so that they are less likely to be eaten. Place the tightly wrapped mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty margarine tub, or into a sealable bag.
  4. Conceal or remove any personal information, including RX number, on the empty containers by covering it with permanent marker or duct tape, or by scratching it off.
  5. The sealed container with the drug mixture, and the empty drug containers, can now be placed in the trash.

Don’t: Flush expired or unwanted drugs down the toilet or drain unless the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs you to do so.

DO: Return unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs to a drug takeback program or follow the above steps for household disposal.

How Proper Disposal of Medicines Protects You and the Earth:

  • Prevents poisoning of children and pets
  • Deters misuse by teenagers and adults
  • Avoids health problems from accidentally taking the wrong medicine, too much of the same medicine, or a medicine that is expired
  • Keeps medicines from entering streams and rivers when poured down the drain or flushed down the toilet

(reference –EPA.gov)