National Network for Child Care's Connections

Polly Spedding, M.S.
Senior Extension Associate
Human Development and Family Studies
Cornell Cooperative Extension

Copyright/Access Information

As a family day care provider, you have many responsibilities.
A big part of your job is keeping the children in your care safe.
Children can be injured in many ways. One threat to young children
is poisoning. Take time now to make sure that your home is poison

We all know that young children will eat and drink almost anything.
Most of us have medicines, sprays, and cleaning products around
the house that could cause accidental poisoning. Here's a checklist
to help you reduce this risk:

  • Keep household products and medicines in a locked cabinet
    or closet. If you leave the room for only an instant, move the
    container to a safe spot or take it with you.
  • Store medicines away from other household products and keep
    them in their original containers. Never keep medicines in cups,
    soft drink bottles, or other containers.
  • Store all household chemical products away from food.
  • Be sure that all products are properly labeled. Read the
    label before using.
  • When taking or giving medicines at night, always turn on
    a light. Leave it on until you're finished and you have put the
    medicine away.
  • Do not take medicines in front of the children. Youngsters
    imitate grown-ups.
  • Call medicines by their proper names. They are not candies.
  • Clean out your medicine cabinet from time to time. Flush
    old or unneeded medicines down the drain, rinse the container
    in water, and then discard it.
  • Use products in child-resistant packaging. Always close the
    container securely after use.
  • Alcohol can be poisonous to children. If you use alcoholic
    beverages in your home, store them where children will not be
    tempted to sample them.
  • Keep emergency phone numbers handy: your doctor, hospital,
    and the Poison Control Center nearest you. This number is listed
    on the inside cover of your phone book. In some areas, you can
    dial 911 for emergency calls.

Even when you're careful, accidents happen. The important thing
is not to panic. Not all medicines and household substances are
poisonous, and not all exposures cause poisoning. Stay calm, call
the emergency number, and be ready to give helpful information.
They will need to know the child's age and weight, the substance
involved, and whether it was swallowed, inhaled, or splashed into
the eyes. Tell them about any first aid you have given up to that
point. They will also want to know exactly where you are and how
far you are from a hospital. You should also notify the child's

Share the poison prevention checklist with the children's parents.
Poison-proofing a home can save a child's life.

(Checklist adapted from information provided by the Consumer Product
Safety Commission.)


National Network for Child Care – NNCC. Part of CYFERNET, the
National Extension Service
Children Youth and Family Educational Research Network. Permission
is granted to reproduce
these materials in whole or in part for educational purposes only
(not for profit beyond the cost of
reproduction) provided that the author and Network receive acknowledgment
and this notice is

Reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child
Care – NNCC. Spedding, P. (1991). Poison proof your family day
care home. In Todd, C.M. (Ed.), *Family day care connections*,
1(2) pp. 5-6. Urbana-Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Cooperative
Extension Service.


Level 3 – National Peer Review
DOCUMENT SIZE:: 13K or 3 pages
ENTRY DATE:: February 1996


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