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Now that spring is upon us, many people will take on the annual ritual of spring cleaning their homes.  There are countless products available to make household cleaning chores easier.  Detergents, disinfectants, anti-bacterials, bleaches, wipes, sprays, aerosols, powders, creams and liquids will be used with great enthusiasm to spring clean kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms and bedrooms.  As you begin your domestic cleaning extravaganza we would like to encourage you to carry out your household chores safely with poison prevention tips to the forefront of your mind.

Unfortunately many parents have had to experience the heart stopping fear of having their child come in contact with a poison.  A poison is any substance that can cause harm if it is swallowed, inhaled, injected or absorbed through the skin or eye.  Poisoning can occur with medicines, household products, cosmetics, plants, garden products, farming and industrial chemicals and animals (e.g. wasp stings).

We all know the many products we have in our house that are dangerous to our children but did you know that two of the most common domestic poisonings, that involve children, are washing powder and dishwasher tablets. They look very interesting to a child’s eye with their bright colours and squishy texture.

Where do you keep yours?

Poisoning is most likely to happen to children aged 1-4 years old.  A lot of parents are not aware that they can call the Poisons Information Centre of Ireland which is open from 8am until 10pm 7 days per week on 01-8092166.  At the national Poison Information Centre they can answer any concerns you may have about something your child has taken.  They will let you know if it is serious enough to bring your child to your GP or nearest hospital. They will also let you know if there is something you can do straight away to ease symptoms or indeed if you need to watch out for any side effects that may occur.

Some things to remember:

If you think your child has been poisoned

  • Stay calm but act quickly
  • Take the poison away from your child
  • If the poison was eaten, make the child spit it out, run your fingers around their mouth and flick out any remaining pieces
  • Never make your child vomit
  • If a chemical has splashed into the eyes, wash the eyes with tap water for 15 minutes
  • Wash any skin that was in contact with the poison with soap water
  • Always take the product container with you to the telephone or to the GP or hospital

Be ready to answer the following questions

  • What was taken?
  • How much was taken?
  • What is the child’s age and weight?
  • Does the child have symptoms?
  • Does the child have an existing medical problem?
  • What time did the poisoning occur?
  • Is there information on the container?
  • What is the product used for?

Signs and symptoms of poisoning can be delayed - ALWAYS SEEK ADVICE!

Poison Prevention Do’s and Don’ts


  • Use containers with child resistant caps. These caps are child-resistant but they are not childproof!
  • Keep chemicals and medicines out of reach and out of sight of children
  • Keep all products in their original containers
  • Use childproof locks on cupboards
  • Read medicine labels carefully to avoid mistakes. Talk with your GP or pharmacist if you have any questions
  • Ask advice from staff in your garden centre when buying plants
  • Replace all lids on products
  • Talk to your children about dangerous products and how they can make them sick


  • Do not leave unsupervised containers open
  • Do not transfer products from original containers. Children who see liquid in a soft drink bottle will think they can drink it.
  • Do not remove labels from medicines or products. The label can contain important information.
  • Do not put tablets into another container such as purse or envelope.
  • Do not refer to medicine or tablets as sweets.
  • Do not take your medicine in front of children as they often copy adults.






Cocoon Childcare