Safety and first aid

Prevent poisoning in the home

Each year hundreds of people from all age groups require medical attention for poisoning from products commonly found around the home.

Sixty-five per cent of the victims of unintentional poisonings are children. Children aged 1 to 3 years are most at risk.

It is very important to store medications and household products out of reach of children. Adult poisonings often include medication errors where people take excessive doses of paracetamol to relive pain and ignore instructions for recommended doses.

Other common poisonings include:

  • burns from caustic cleaning products
  • farm accidents
  • ingestions of herbicides and insecticides, and radiator coolants.

Mistakes often occur when products are transferred from original containers to other containers particularly cool drink bottles.

In case of poisoning

If the victim has collapsed or has stopped breathing, do not delay, phone 000 for an ambulance.

Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 (24 hours a day) if you, your child, a friend or a family member comes in contact with a poison.

See Poisoning - first aid.

What can I do to prevent poisonings?

  • Check every room in your house for poisonous products.
  • Install child resistant mechanisms on all doors where poisons or medicines are stored.
  • Unpack shopping bags immediately and store all medicines and poisons in original containers out of sight and reach of children.
  • Never take or give medicines in the dark.
  • Don’t take medications in front of children.
  • Don’t call medicines lollies.
  • Before giving any medication, read the label and use only as directed.
  • Return expired medicines, or ones that are no longer needed, to your local chemist for disposal.
  • Always tightly close and put away medicines and poisons after use.
  • Never transfer poisons to another container, especially drink or food containers.
  • Always store poisons away from food products.

Common poisons that can be dangerous to children and adults


  • Prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, herbal and veterinary products.

Household products

  • Cleaning products, including bleaches and detergents for the kitchen, bathroom and toilet, swimming pool products.
  • Health and beauty products, including nail polish and remover, hair dyes, mouthwash, toothpaste, deodorant, perfume and aftershave.
  • All types of batteries, including button batteries.
  • Cigarettes.

Garage/shed products

  • Insecticides and herbicides, including insect sprays, rat and mouse baits and pellets and weed killers
  • Handyman/building products, pool chemicals, fertilisers, paints and paint thinners, petrol, antifreeze and degreasers.


  • Trees, flowers, berries, mushrooms and the sap of some plants.

Where to get help

  • If the victim has collapsed dial triple zero (000) to call an ambulance
  • Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 (24 hours a day) if you suspect poisoning.
  • See your doctor.

WA Poisons Information Centre

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

Link to HealthyWA Facebook page