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Poison Prevention Tips for Spring

As you begin spring cleaning and work on the yard…

Household Cleaners and Other Chemical Products

  • Keep poisons in the containers they came in. Do not use food containers (such as cups or bottles) to mix or store household cleaners or yard chemicals. Sometimes the poison center receives calls because someone drank what they thought was a ‘beverage’ but it turned out to be ‘a poison’ because it was improperly stored. Don’t let this happen to you. Store chemicals and cleaners away from food. Many poisonings occur when one product is mistaken for another.
  • Read and follow directions before using products every time they are used.
  • Never mix cleaners because poisonous gases can be created. For example, mixing an acidic toilet bowl cleaner with bleach will make very irritating chlorine fumes that might cause serious breathing problems. Make sure to ventilate the area while you are working by opening a door or window and using an exhaust fan.
  • Hydrocarbon liquids are poisonous. They are liquids made from petroleum. Some common products include gasoline, kerosene, charcoal lighter fluid, paint thinner, baby oil, lamp oil, tiki torch oil, and furniture polish.
  • If hydrocarbons are swallowed, they can easily cause coughing and get into the lungs. Even a small amount can cause breathing problems and chemical pneumonia.
  • Keep chemicals, cleaners, and hydrocarbon liquids in the original containers, with the cap on tight, and locked away from children and pets.


  • Pesticides (pest killers) and herbicides (weed killers) can be poisonous if taken in through the skin, inhaled, or swallowed.
  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, socks, shoes and gloves when using pesticides and herbicides. Remove and wash clothing when finished.
  • Stay away from areas where pesticides have been sprayed until the spray has dried or for at least one hour.
  • Wash off children and pets (especially their nose and paws) after they have been in grass that was recently sprayed with chemicals.

Mushrooms and Plants

  • Teach children to never put mushrooms, berries or any part of a plant into their mouths.
  • Know the names of flowers and plants growing in and around your yard. Learn more about springtime plants here.
Poison Prevention Tips for Spring PDF


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