Safety for Medicines, Chemicals and Poisons

Medicines are the most common cause of hospital admissions for poisoning in under fives. Common painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen are the main culprits. Child resistant lids slow children down, but they are not childproof.

  • Keep all medicines locked away or high up out of reach and sight.
  • Take extra care when visiting relatives houses as they may have medicines and other dangerous products within reach.
  • Try to take your medicine when your child is not watching, as children like to copy what you do.

Top Tips:

  • Keep cleaning products high up out of reach, including those for the toilet. If this isn’t possible, fit safety catches to low cupboard doors. Make sure bottle tops and lids are on properly.
  • Do not store cleaning liquids in unmarked containers or bottles. Keep them in the container they came in to avoid confusion.
  • Small amounts of alcohol can be harmful to children so clear up any glasses.
  • Aromatherapy oils, perfumes and cigarettes can be harmful to children.
  • Keep garden chemicals and other outside chemicals in a locked shed or cupboard.
  • Teach children not to eat anything they have picked outside without checking with an adult first. Poisonous berries and plants can look appealing.
  • Carbon Monoxide can escape from flame burning appliances. You can't see, smell or taste it. Fit a carbon monoxide alarm in every room where there are flame burning appliances or open fires. Ensure appliances are serviced regularly.

If you think your child has swallowed pills or medicines:

  • Get medical help immediately. Do not try to treat them yourself. If they seem well, call NHS 111.
  • If they are showing signs of being seriously ill, call 999 or take them straight to Accident and Emergency.
  • Take the full set of tablets, packaging or chemicals with you so that the doctors can check the labelling and calculate how much your child may have taken.
  • Don’t try to make them be sick.

For further information on poisioning prevention visit the Child Accident Prevention Trust website.