Top 5 Causes of Poisoning (infographic)

Poisoning kills more than 35,000 people in the United States each year, and most of these deaths are the result of accidental poisoning with common household products. Poisoning kills more people than car crashes, making it the number one cause of injury death.

Top 5 Causes of Poisoning

  • Painkillers
  • Cosmetics or personal products
  • Household cleaning products
  • Sedatives, hypnotics, and antipsychotics medicine
  • Foreign bodies, toys, and other objects

How to Poison Proof Your Home

  • Medicines: Keep medicines in their original containers, properly labeled, and store them appropriately.
  • Carbon Monoxide Detector: Have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home. The best places for a CO detector are near bedrooms and close to furnaces.
  • Household Products: Keep products in their originalcontainers. Do not use food containers like cups or bottles to store antifreeze, household cleaners, or other chemicals or products.
  • Arts and Crafts: Some art products are mixtures of chemicals which should be kept in their original containers. They can be dangerous if not used correctly. Make sure children use art products safely by reading and following directions. Do not eat or drink while using art products. Wash skin after contact with art products. Clean equipment, wipe tables, desks, and counters.
  • Kitchen: Wash hands and counters before preparing all food. Store food at the proper temperatures. Refrigerated foods should not be left out at temperatures above 40 degrees F (5 degrees C). Use clean utensils for cooking and serving.
  • Outdoors: Know what poisonous snakes live in your area and wear proper attire (boots, etc.) when hiking outdoors. Check the label on any insect repellent — be aware that most contain DEET, which can be poisonous in large quantities. Be sure that everyone in your family can identify poisonous mushrooms and plants.

What To Do in an Emergency
If you or someone you know may have been poisoned — do not wait for signs of illness — call the toll-free Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222, which connects you to your local poison center. If the person is not breathing, call 9-1-1.

Some additional first steps include:

  • If the person inhaled poison, get to fresh air right away.
  • If the person has poison on the skin, take off any clothing the poison touched. Rinse skin with running water for 15-20 minutes.
  • If the person has poison in the eyes, rinse eyes with running water for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Your poison center can give you other first-aid advice and may save you from a visit to the emergency room.

Keep the number to the Poison Help Line next to all phones and stored in your cell phone. For more information, visit

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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David C
David C2 months ago


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

good info. thanks!

Heather M
Heather Marv5 years ago

thanks for info.

Mm M.
MmAway M5 years ago

This is such an outstanding article~Used to come here when I joined Care2 and have not lately, but WOW this is important! Thank you oh so much! Happy New Year!

candice peters
candy peters5 years ago

thanks for the information

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton5 years ago


Anne G.
Anne G5 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Victoria McFarlane
Past Member 5 years ago


Ajla C.
Past Member 5 years ago


Heidi Aubrey
Heidi Aubrey5 years ago

Good article. The overdosing with pain meds is almost alway by degrees. The original dose doesn't work any take one more. The original dose the extra one doesn't work anymore, so now the original dose 2......and so on and so on until your dead.