by Emily DeLeo

Your home should be a comfortable place where you and your family can feel safe. However, your home may not be safe if you leave medications or other dangerous substances where children or pets can reach them.

Cosmetics, cleaning supplies, medications and even vitamins can be very dangerous to children. All of these items need to be stored where children cannot get them. Even in the garage, chemicals like gasoline or antifreeze need to be out of reach of children (and pets). The Wisconsin Poison Center has many suggestions that can make your home a safer place:

• Store medicine and household chemicals away from children, locked up if possible.

• Never store poison in food or beverage containers. Keep poison in original labeled container.

• Do not call medicine “candy” when you are trying to get a sick child to take it.

• Put “Mr. Yuk” stickers on poisonous items in your house with your children. Tell your children to never touch items with “Mr. Yuk” on them.

To order stickers go to or call the poison center.

The National Poison Center number is 1-800-222-1222. If you are calling from a cell phone it will direct you to the nearest state’s poison center, which may not be Wisconsin, depending on where you are calling from. If you need the poison center here in Wisconsin, you may have to use a land line.

Pets can be poisoned too. If you are afraid your pet has consumed something toxic, please call your vet right away. The National Poison Center does NOT answer questions about pets; however, you may call the ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435. Please note there is a $55 charge for consultation for a pet (via credit card).

Emily DeLeo is the Community Health Liaison for the Riverwest Health Initiative. She can be reached at 263-8383 x.139.

Riverwest Currents online edition – March, 2007