Poison safety

Poisoning is one of the most common childhood injuries. Every year, in NSW, more than 500 children are admitted to hospital as a result of poisoning from products found in and around the home. Most accidental poisonings happen to children younger than five years old, with children aged one to three years most at risk.

Medications are the most common cause of childhood poisonings and nearly all childhood poisonings take place at home.

How can you prevent poisoning?

  • Closely supervise children, especially visitors, around the home.

  • When giving medicine to children, always follow the instructions on the label.

  • Buy products in child resistant containers, but remember that the lids are not completely childproof – a curious and determined child may eventually open these containers.

  • Always make sure that the child resistant lid is on properly after each use.

  • Store all poisons including medicines, cleaning products and chemicals in their original containers that are clearly labelled.

  • Place containers in a child resistant locked cupboard that is at least 1.5 metres above ground.

  • Return poisons to their safe storage area immediately after use. Do not leave them out on a bench or counter.

  • Be extra vigilant when normal family routine is changed eg: going on holidays, moving house, having visitors and during family disruptions

  • Dispose of unwanted household chemicals – contact the EPA Clean Out line for details 131 555 or go to www.cleanout.com.au

  • Take any unwanted or out-of-date medicines to your local pharmacy so they can throw them away.

  • Don’t call medicines ‘lollies’ and, if possible, avoid children watching you take, or give, medicines to others.

  • Keep handbags out of a child’s reach if storing medicine or other poisons in your handbag.

  • Save the Poisons Information Centre phone number 131126 in your mobile phone.

  • Check that the plants in your garden are not poisonous. Ask your local nursery or visit the Poisons Information Centre website at www.chw.edu.au/poisons for basic plant safety information.

First aid for poisoning

The Poison Information centre offers free medical advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 or visit NSW Poisons Information Centre.

First aid for swallowed poison

• Do not try to make the patient vomit.

• Pick up the container and take it to the telephone.

• Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.

First aid for poison on the skin

• Remove poisoned clothing, taking care to avoid contact with the poison.

• Wash the skin with lots of cool running water.

• Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.

First aid for poison in the eye

• Wash the eye with water from a cup, jug or slowly running tap.

• Continue for 10-15 minutes, holding the eyelids open.

• Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.

First aid for inhaled poison

• Get the child to fresh air quickly, without placing yourself at risk.

• Open doors and windows wide, if it is safe to do so.

• Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.


English (English)

Checklist: Poison safety for child care services

Kids and Poisons DL brochure

Arabic (العربية)

Kids and Poisons Brochure - DL (الأطفال ومركز)

Greek (Ελληνικά)

Kids and Poisons Brochure - DL (Greek) Παιδιά και Δηλητήρια

Italian (Italiano)

Kids and Poisons Brochure - DL (Italian) I bambini e i veleni

Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt)

Kids and Poisons brochure - DL (Vietnamese) Trẻ em và Độc chất

Korean (한국어)

Kids and Poisons brochure - DL (Korean) 어린이와 독성물질