Is your home poison-proof? Many people consider their homes a safe space. While homeowners are often prepared for disasters like a fire or flooding, “poison” is not always top of mind. Certainly, materials like rat poison, chemical cleaners, and even unused paint should be stored in a space that can’t be accessed by children, but there is a lot more to poison control at home than just making sure you’ve locked up after yourself.

Keep in mind that it’s impossible to make something 100% child-proof. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t store dangerous objects out of reach. It does mean you need to be aware of where you leave things. While most households remember to lock up cleaning chemicals, they forget about substances that are much more readily available to small children. Cigarettes, laundry detergent, and batteries are just a few household items that are often left in very accessible places. Knowing where these items are is an important step in controlling everyday poison hazards within your home.

Another poison danger lies within medication. Always read carefully the directions from your doctor or spelled out on the bottle. Even the smallest change in dosage could have a big impact. Young children and the elderly are especially prone to problems associated with the wrong dosage. Once the medication is finished, be sure to discard it in a way that will keep everyone safe. For instance, you should never throw unused pills into a trash can. You can always drop off unused or expired medication at your local pharmacy if you need help discarding it safely.

Still more dangers lurk in our homes that many people don’t think about. An invisible, odourless poison, carbon monoxide, causes deaths every single year. It’s important that in addition to smoke alarms, homeowners have carbon monoxide detectors throughout the house. Be sure to check the batteries every six months, just as you do with your smoke alarms. Carbon monoxide poison usually comes from things like your furnace, hot water heater, and improper ductwork. Be sure to have your appliances inspected regularly for any signs of a problem and replace old appliances as needed.

When people hear the word poison, they often think of the obvious things: household cleaners or chemicals used to control pests. It’s important to know that poison can lurk everywhere in your home. The good news is that you can become more aware of the dangers and help to prevent an emergency.