Preventing poisoning

Every year, thousands of children are poisoned in Québec by ingesting a toxic product, getting a toxic product in their eyes or on their skin, or inhaling toxic vapours.

These products are everywhere: in kitchen cabinets, in the bathroom, bedroom, or garage, even in your purse.

Many household products and plants can be toxic to children (e.g., vitamins, medications, cleaning products, fuel, houseplants, mushrooms, pesticides, and personal hygiene, car maintenance, and renovation products).

Québec Poison Control Centre is a phone emergency service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If your child has ingested a toxic product or gotten a toxic product in their eyes or on their skin, call the Québec Poison Control Centre. They will assist you with the first aid care (see Poisoning and contact with hazardous products).

Québec Poison Control Center has published a number of poisoning prevention pamphlets. To learn more, visit their website:

Québec Poison Control Center
www.ciusss-capitalenationale.gouv.qc.ca/centre-antipoison-du-quebec/capq-accueil (Mostly in French)
1-800-463-5060

Medications and toxic products: tips on poison prevention

  • Keep toxic products, medications, and natural health products out of children’s sight and reach.
  • Store these products in cabinets and drawers with safety latches or in places children cannot get into.
  • Keep these products in their original containers with a childproof cap.
  • Never transfer hazardous products to food containers (e.g., gasoline in a water bottle).
  • Keep children away from ashtrays and glasses containing alcoholic beverages.
  • Carefully read the instructions before you give your child any medicine and measure out the exact dose. See your pharmacist if you need help.
  • Never leave medication on the changing table or near the crib.

Plants

Many indoor and outdoor plants have toxic leaves and fruits that can cause conditions such as skin irritation, swelling, trouble swallowing, dry mouth, diarrhea, vomiting, and hallucinations.

To prevent exposure to toxic plants, it’s worth checking to see if your indoor and outdoor plants are toxic. As soon as your child can crawl or walk, keep these plants out of her reach.

Keep plants in their original container so you can easily identify them later. If you don’t know the name of your plants, ask at a garden centre or florist. It may be useful to bring along some photos so they can help identify them.

Outdoor mushrooms

Some outdoor mushrooms can cause poisoning. This can result in serious damage to a child’s liver and digestive system.

To prevent poisoning caused by outdoor mushrooms, it’s a good idea to pick or destroy them before children can find them. Since they grow quickly, be vigilant and keep a watchful eye out for them.