For Your Babysitters

When leaving your child with a babysitter, it is important that the babysitter be aware of some general poison prevention guidelines. Remind babysitters to keep a close eye on curious children, and to keep in mind that a hungry child is more likely to eat something that should be avoided. Before leaving the house, check that all poisons are locked up and out of reach. Among other emergency contact information, be sure to point out the poison help number and put it on or near the telephone. These steps are worthwhile to take even when the babysitter is a close friend, relative, or neighbor.

Take a Tour of Your Home from Your Child’s Perspective


  • Be sure all household products and medications are in their original containers and are stored out of reach in a locked cabinet.

Bathroom and Bedroom

  • Keep medicines in their original containers and locked away.
  • Be sure to buy medications in child-resistant containers; no container is completely child-proof.
  • Unused and outdated medications should be safely discarded.
  • Drain, toilet, and surface cleaners should be locked away.
  • Perfume should be kept out of reach.
  • Never store or keep any type of medication in the bedrooms.

Laundry Area

  • Keep bleaches, soaps, spot remover sprays, and detergents out of children’s reach and stored in a locked cabinet.
  • Products should be kept in their original containers.


  • Herbicides, insecticides, paint, solvents, automotive products and other potentially dangerous products should be kept in their original containers and stored in locked cabinets.
  • Gasoline and other products should not be siphoned.

General Household

  • If ingested, button batteries in toys, hearing aids, calculators, and watches can easily become lodged in the throat, cause bleeding and may cause poisoning if not removed.
  • Keep plants out of children’s reach and be sure they are labeled.
  • Keep ashtrays clean.
  • Dispose of hazardous substances in a way that children cannot get to them. Nicotine and other medicated patches may still contain some active ingredients, so dispose of them carefully.
  • After a social event, don’t wait until morning to clean up, especially beverage glasses and unfinished alcoholic drinks.
  • Fuel burning appliances should be properly ventilated and serviced annually.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors on all floors. Change batteries regularly; follow manufacturers’ guidelines.
  • Remind visitors to your home not to leave their purses or packages containing medications where children can get at them.
  • Be sure the environment is poison-proof, when children stay with others.

House and Yard

  • Know the names of your house and yard plants and trees.
  • Keep houseplants out of the reach of children.
  • Teach your children never to put leaves, wild berries, or wild mushrooms into their mouths.
  • Cooking may not destroy a plant’s toxic chemicals.

For a list of links to other resources, visit our online resources page.