Child Safety: Poisons In Your Home

5 min read

By Dr. Chetan Ginigeri,MBBS(JIPMER), MD (PGIMER), Fellowship PICU (Kings College London)
Head of Dept – Paediatric & Neonatal services, Aster CMI Hospital
17 years of experience

Do you know that your favorite deodorant could poison your child? Shocked? Just make a list of the items you store in the house and tick the items that are considered as poisonous by reading the labels on them. The results must be more shocking.
Household poisons

Why Is It Necessary To Identify Household Poisons?

Unintentional poisoning among children is increasing incredibly over the last decade. Another statistic shows that every day, two children die and 300 children take treatment for unintentional poisoning. These startling facts point to the importance of knowing the house hold products that put your child in danger if not kept properly. From pesticides to personal care products, most of the items we store in our home cause poisoning if not properly used. It is very important to store those items out of the reach of children and even adults who may use them carelessly. Children are inquisitive, curious little beings and their general sense to explore drives them to taste everything. This is especially true for babies and toddlers, who want to pull open all caps and taste everything. Lest you find yourself in an unfortunate situation, do mark these simple household items as poisonous and ensure that they are always kept out of your kids’ reach.

Top 12 Easily Accessible And Dangerous Household Poisons For Your Child

Here is the list of top 12 dangerous house hold poisons which are easily accessible for children:

    1. Moth balls: Moth balls contain either Naphthalene or Para dichlorobenzene. They are fumigants (volatilize into the air). Both the chemicals can be absorbed dermally. Even one moth ball can potentially raise a serious health issue if swollen by a child. Keep all the moth balls out of the reach of children. Refrain from allowing them to play with them, and do not just think that packaged balls are child proof – keep them away in containers that your child cannot unlock
    2. Nail polish remover: So you are changing your nail paint and then you keep the nail polish remover at the side table. Your child may want to see what is it that mummy was using and bam! Nail polish remover poisoning will occur when your child swallows it or inhale it. The main component of nail polish remover is acetone. Intake of nail polish remover lead to acetone poisoning Even the consumption of small amount will leads to serious health issues of your child

Girl playing with medicines

    1. Medicines: Medicines are meant to be taken in right amounts for the right person. The medical kit which contains sanitizer to sleeping pills is common and absolutely necessary in every household. Medicines, including cough syrups, pain killers, prescription drugs, sleeping aids are very dangerous and also may be fatal if taken accidentally. Iron pills which seem comparatively harmless, if taken by your child in large number, can result in vomiting blood and bloody diarrhea. Children love to drink syrups because of its sweetness. They usually mistook tablets and capsules as candies because of its colorful appearance. Keeping medicines locked up, out of sight and reach of children is very important. Never leave medicines carelessly and don’t take your medicine in front of your child. They may try to imitate you. Refrain from telling your child that medicine tastes like candy, and you know why! It is dangerous for your child to swallow prescription drugs
    2. Nail glue remover: Glue remover which is used to remove artificial nails can be dangerously poisonous. Even cyanide poisoning is reported when children swallow nail glue remover accidentally
    3. Hydro carbons: This is a large group which includes kerosene, lamp oil, gasoline, paint thinners, furniture polishes, motor oils etc. Most of these items are seen in our garages and stores and found to be leading cause of death due to unintentional poisoning. Make sure that your child does not have access to such places
    4. Alcohol: When children swallow alcohol, they could suffer from seizures, may get into a coma, and in extreme cases, it can be fatal. Toiletries like facial cleansers, hair tonics and mouth wash are found to have as much alcohol as in alcoholic beverages
    5. Pesticides and Insecticides: In most of our houses we store pesticides and insecticides. Intake of these chemicals causes acute poisoning. Often these poisoning is lethal. Keeping pesticides and insecticides away from the reach of children and cleaning your hand thoroughly after its use should be done

poisonous dangers in home

  1. Button batteries: Don’t put button batteries carelessly so that your child could take it. Especially 20 mm lithium coin cell is too small that it can be swallowed by children. It may get stuck in the esophagus and cause burns within two hours. A hole may develop and there are chances that it may extend to trachea or aorta which is fatal. Read more about button batteries and your child here
  2. Topical preparation: Topical medication is a medication applied on the body surface in the form of a cream, lotion, ointment, foams or gel. Serious poisoning happens due to oral ingestion of these medicines
  3. Indoor plants: Indoor plants will increase the beauty of your rooms. But some of the indoor plants like Chinese evergreen, English ivy etc. are poisonous plants. Intake of such plants in small or moderate amount accidentally will results in harmful reaction especially in children. So make sure your indoor plant are not belong to poisonous group. Even if it is not poisonous keep it out of the reach of children because if they swallow the leaves or any other part of it may result in choking
  4. Turpentine: This is a volatile liquid (evaporates at room temperature) found in furniture and floor polishes. This can cause toxic reactions when inhaled or swallowed. In severe cases kidney failure, vomiting blood, severe abdominal pain, low blood pressure, collapsing etc. can also happen
  5. Antifreeze: They are basically ethylene glycol used as engine coolers. This is an item that is always stored in the garage. Most antifreeze brands have sweet smell and taste that attracts children’s attention. Make sure it is properly stored in sealed and labelled container out of the reach of your child

Discarding unwanted things and keeping everything labelled and out of reach of children will reduce your child’s chances to get poisoned accidentally. Keeping all the medicines in their original containers, installing child proof locks, creating high altitude shelves, and being aware are some of the simple things you can do to prevent serious issues in future.

Dr. Chetan Ginigeri,MBBS(JIPMER), MD (PGIMER), Fellowship PICU (Kings College London)
Head of Dept – Paediatric & Neonatal services, Aster CMI Hospital
17 years of experience

Dr Chetan Ginigeri is an experienced Pediatric Intensivist with national and international training. With 15 years of experience, he is one among very few Intensivists in India trained to take care of children who need/had organ transplants. He has been responsible for coordinating the Pediatric Organ Transplant program.Read more.

Responses (0)

Please check a captcha

Want curated content sharply tailored for your exact stage of parenting?

Discover great local businesses around you for your kids.

Get regular updates, great recommendations and other right stuff at the right time.


Our site uses cookies to make your experience on this site even better. We hope you think that is sweet.