How To Keep Your Family Safe from Poisonous Chemicals At Home - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Mar 26, 2021

How To Keep Your Family Safe from Poisonous Chemicals At Home

Learn How To Limit Your Family’s Exposure to Poisonous Chemicals With These Safety Tips

Despite attempts to keep dangerous chemicals out of reach of your family members, poison exposures are reported to US Poison Control Centers at least once every fifteen seconds on average.  While it may be more commonly known that chemicals pose a risk for young children, seniors are also considered high-risk for poisoning events. When it comes to accidental poisoning, preventive measures are key. Continue reading to learn more about what common household chemicals you should be aware of and how to keep your household safe.


Household Cleaners

Some of the most hazardous chemicals can be found in common, everyday household products. Oftentimes, we store household cleaners under our sinks and in our pantries without a second thought. Unfortunately, this can lead to some dangerous situations when in the wrong hands. Here are a few things you can do to prevent accidental poisoning from common household cleaners:


   Store food separately from all cleaners, including your laundry products. Packaging can often look similar, making it easier for children to mistake them for snacks and colored drinks.


   Never mix different products together, as this can create dangerous, poisonous gases. Always use cleaners as directed.

   Keep products in their original packaging with labels in place. Labels can provide important information about the product and what to do in case of ingestion.


   Utilize child-proof locking mechanisms on cabinets that contain cleaning products. It’s also best to store cleaners and chemicals in high cabinets, out of reach of any family member that shouldn’t be handling them. 


   Consider switching to homemade and non-toxic household cleaners. Try combining one part water, one part vinegar, lemon rind and rosemary sprigs for a great scented all-purpose cleaner.


   Be sure to discard expired products that may pose a poisoning hazard.


Both common and prescription medications can pose a major threat when misused. Follow these tips to prevent potential medication poisoning in your home or the home of a loved one:


   Leave medications in their original packaging and clearly labeled.


   Store medications high up and away from a child’s reach. Use child-proofing mechanisms on storage locations for extra protection.


   Only take prescription medications that are prescribed to you by a healthcare professional.


   Keep the seniors in your life safe by organizing their medications weekly, should they need help.


   Be sure to follow the directions on all medications - over-the-counter or otherwise.


   Dispose of any unused, unneeded, or expired medications.


House Plants

While not all plants pose health concerns, it is important to know that some plants can be poisonous to your family and pets if ingested and that others may cause burning or irritation to the skin upon contact. The danger in common house plants can range from a mild irritation to severe illness and even death.  Consider exercising these safety tips if you own house plants:

   Keep all plants out of reach of pets and children.


   Teach children not to eat plants, mushrooms, or berries found on plants inside your home or in the yard. If you have a garden, teach them what is and isn’t okay to eat.


   Avoid handling plants that have been sprayed with fertilizers or pesticide.


   Do your research before bringing any plant into your home. You might consider labeling plants to avoid confusion.


Carbon Monoxide 

Carbon monoxide (CO) is found in fumes produced by furnaces, vehicles, generators, stoves, lanterns, gas ranges, and more. When CO from these sources builds up in enclosed, and even partially enclosed spaces, animals and people in these spaces can be poisoned from breathing it in. Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by following these safety tips:


   Check and change the batteries in your CO detector every six months. Set daylight saving days as a time to do this to easily remember.


   Have your heating system, water heater, and other solid fuel-burning appliances serviced each year.


   Keep vents and flues free of debris.


   Never run a motor vehicle, generator , pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine in an enclosed space.


   Never run a charcoal grill, lantern, or portable camping stove indoors, even if windows are open.


In the Garage

It is not uncommon for garages to be filled with various products that can contain toxic chemicals and invisible vapors. Aside from these products you might store in your garage, you’ll want to be aware of things like car exhaust fumes, gasoline fumes, carbon monoxide and paint stripper fumes as these can be extremely harmful. Many times these fumes are undetectable by sight and smell. Follow these safety tips to avoid a poisoning incident:

   Keep all liquids and sprays up and away from a child’s reach, even in a garage or workshop.


   Ensure that lids and caps to all containers are on and secure.


   Consider purchasing a lockable cabinet to store all liquids and sprays.


   Be sure that your garage door is open when using motorized vehicles or equipment, however its best to never run engines in an enclosed space.


   Clearly label all chemical and fluid containers to avoid any confusion about its contents.


   Properly dispose of any expired or unnecessary chemicals to limit the possibility of exposure.


If you or your child has been exposed to a poisonous chemical or has ingested a poisonous substance and is awake and alert, contact poison control at 1-800-222-1222 as soon as possible. For more information about how to keep your home safe from poisonous gases like Radon, check out the link below!