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Facts About Poisons

Children are naturally inquisitive and love to explore their world. Infants tend to put everything in their mouths and toddlers grab whatever looks interesting. Adolescents may experiment with drugs and other mind-altering substances. Consider these facts about poisonings in the United States:

  • Each year, poison control centers receive more than 1.1 million calls about accidental poisonings among children ages 5 and under.
  • Calls to poison control centers peak between 4 pm and 10 pm.
  • Only 30 percent of caregivers are able to accurately measure a correct dosage of over-the-counter medications to their children.
  • More than 90 percent of poisonings in children occur in the home.
  • In children, approximately 60 percent of poisonings involve products other than medicines such as plants, cleaning products, cosmetics, pesticides, paints, and solvents; 40 percent of poisonings involve medications.

What is "the arsenic hour?"

Peak calls to poison control centers occur between 4 and 10 p.m. In fact, dinnertime is such a busy time of day for most families, that many times parents do not supervise their children as closely as usual. This is a common time of day for childhood poisonings to occur and has led poison center staff to call this time of day "the arsenic hour."

The good news is that prompt treatment can prevent most serious reactions. And, of course, poison prevention is always the best cure.

Be prepared for a poisoning emergency by posting the poison center telephone number by every phone in your home.

The national, toll-free poison control center locator number is 1-800-222-1222. From here, you will be automatically redirected to the nearest Poison Center in your area.

If you have a poisoning emergency, call your local poison center immediately.
If the child has collapsed or is not breathing, call 911, or your local emergency medical services (EMS).

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Common Childhood Injuries & Poisonings

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