Poisoning (and Poison Control Centres)


There are countless potentially hazardous household products lurking in our homes such as cleaning supplies, solvents, petroleum products, pesticides, plants and medications. If you suspect that someone has been poisoned, call a Poison Control Centre or your local emergency services (911) immediately.

Poison Control Centres across Canada
Alberta
Telephone: 403-944-1414
Toll-free: 1-800-332-1414

British Columbia
Telephone: 604-682-5050
Toll-free: 1-800-567-8911

Manitoba
Toll-free: 1-855-776-4766

New Brunswick
Telephone: 911

Newfoundland
Telephone: 709-722-1110
Toll-free: 1-866-727-1110

Northwest Territories
Toll-free: 1-800-332-1414
VoIP Users: 1-403-944-1414

Nova Scotia
Telephone: 902-470-8161
Toll-free: 1-800-565-8161
Nunavut
Ontario Poison Centre (for Nunavut)
Toll-free: 1-800-268-9017

Ontario
Telephone: 416-813-5900
Toll-free: 1-800-268-9017

Prince Edward Island
Telephone: 902-470-8161
Toll-free: 1-800-565-8161

Quebec
Toll-free: 1-800-463-5060

Saskatchewan
Toll-free: 1-866-454-1212

Yukon
Telephone: 811
or
BC Drug and Poison Information
Center604-682-5050


Prevention

A few simple steps can be taken to reduce the likelihood of accidental poisonings:

  • Periodically draw up a list of potentially toxic products found in every room inside and outside the home (e.g., pool care products, windshield washer).
  • Keep all dangerous products (medications, cleaning products, cosmetics) in locked drawers or cupboards. Make sure that they are out of reach and out of sight of children.
  • Never mix household cleaning products or use one after the other as this can cause toxic gases and result in inhalation toxicity.
  • Store all products (e.g., medications, household products) in their original containers.
  • Do not use industrial products at home.
  • Before using a product, always read the label.
  • When using dangerous products, close containers immediately.
  • Do not keep expired medications. Bring them back to the pharmacy where they will be disposed of safely.
  • Teach children not to eat or drink products or medications unless given to them by an adult they know.
  • Promptly put away glasses that contain alcohol (beer, wine, liquor) after use.
  • Keep the phone number for the Poison Control Centre next to every phone in the house.

For the safe use of medication
  • Do not take medications in front of children because they like to mimic adults.
  • Never refer to medication as "candy".
  • Measure out the dose in an area that is well lit and use the proper measuring device.
  • Purchase commercial containers with child-resistant caps.

Accidental childhood poisonings often occur when there is a momentary lapse in adult supervision (e.g., answering the phone, preparing meals). Poisonings also happen when there is a change in the family's routine (e.g., holidays, while traveling). That said, increased vigilance is recommended.

What to do in case of a poisoning

  • Stay calm.
  • If the person is unconscious, not breathing, or if their heart has stopped beating, call 911.
  • If the toxic product was swallowed, call the Poison Control Centre immediately. Do not induce vomiting.
  • If the toxic product came into contact with the eyes, flush with warm water for at least 15 minutes. Call the Poison Control Centre.
  • If the toxic product spilled on the skin, remove contaminated clothing. Flush skin with warm running water for at least 15 minutes. Call the Poison Control Centre.

The best prevention is caution and education.
Keep potentially dangerous products out of the reach of children!

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