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Fatal Poisons In Your Home

Updated on September 27, 2015

Coin Cell Batteries

Coin cell know, the little ones in small electronics, battery-operated children's books, watches, digital pets like Tamagotchi, laser pointers, calculators, etc. are fatal within two hours if a child swallows one. According to Wikipedia, "the damage is caused, not by the contents of the battery, but by the electric current it creates, which causes sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) to build up and burn through the esophagus and into major blood vessels, which can cause fatal bleeding.Central Manchester University Hospital Trust warns that 'a lot of doctors are unaware that this can cause harm'."

According to an article put out by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a study put out by Dr. Toby Litovitz of the National Capital Poison Center, injury and fatality from coin cell buttons has increased sevenfold since 1985. Incidents most often occur in children under four and senior adults. Many times, the parent is unaware the child has swallowed the battery, leading to misdiagnosis. The CPSC recommends that the following steps be taken to prevent injury or death:

- Discard button batteries carefully.

- Do not allow children to play with button batteries, and keep button batteries out of your child's reach.

- Caution hearing aid users to keep hearing aids and batteries out of the reach of children.

- Never put button batteries in your mouth for any reason as they are easily swallowed accidentally.

- Always check medications before ingesting them. Adults have swallowed button batteries mistaken for pills or tablets.

- Keep remotes and other electronics out of your child's reach if the battery compartments do not have a screw to secure them. Use tape to help secure the battery compartment.

- If a button battery is ingested, immediately seek medical attention. The National Battery Ingestion Hotline is available anytime at (202) 625-3333 (call collect if necessary), or call your poison center at (800) 222-1222.

Tiki Torch Fluid

Torch fluid has caused many fatalities due the fact it looks like apple juice. Anyone could make the mistake of pouring it into a glass, then accidentally drinking it. If any amount of it gets into your lungs, it damages their ability to absorb oxygen. Death comes by suffocation. Here are some tips for prevention:

  • Store poisons and food in different places.
  • Do NOT put poisons into food containers. Keep poisons in their original containers.
  • Put the child-resistant cap firmly back in place after using torch fuel or other products.
  • Read the label before eating, drinking, or taking medicine. Be sure it's the right thing BEFORE you put it into your mouth!


It used to be that magnets were not made small enough to swallow. But nowadays there are even toys designed for children that have magnets small enough to swallow, like those little sets of poles and little balls that attach to each other through magnetism. If a child were to swallow more than one, they could connect and trap stomach tissue, cutting off blood supply and causing severe injury or death.

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that "ingestion of magnets from magnet sets led to 1,700 visits to the hospital from 2009-2011. The majority of the patients were children. Some required surgery to remove the magnets. A few had permanent damage to the digestive tract. To date, one child has died."

Here are a few steps from to follow to avoid magnet poisoning:

  • If magnet sets are used in the home, store them in a locked cabinet or box out of reach of children and pets. Be sure to discard them safely, too.

  • Magnet sets should also be kept away from older children and individuals with developmental delay or the elderly with memory impairment.

  • Choose refrigerator magnets that are large enough they cannot be swallowed or pose a choking hazard to children.

  • Avoid the use of magnetic beads as fake body piercings.

  • After use of magnets, count each piece to make sure none are missing.

If anyone swallows a magnet, here’s what you should do:

  • Do not try to make the child throw up.

  • Do not give anything to drink or eat.

  • Call the poison center right away at 1-800-222-1222. The poison center experts will tell you what to do.

Peace Lily
Peace Lily


Some of the most common household plants are poisonous. If a child (or pet) were to chew a piece of the plant and/or ingest part of these plants, there would be swelling of the lips, mouth, and airway. Here are some of the most common:

  • Peace Lily
  • Dumb Cane
  • Poinsettia
  • Oleander
  • Daffodil
  • Tulip (bulb)

For a more comprehensive list, visit the website listed below.

While on the subject of plants, it's a common fact that pesticide and weedkiller are both poisonous. Most people are careful keeping them away from young children. What many people don't think about is their shoes and pants after they have sprayed. Chemicals get all over the bottom of their shoes and then the residue is brought inside, in range of young children. The best thing to do is avoid using these substances while you have young children in your home. It's just not worth the risk.

What To Do In Case Of Poisoning

The best thing to do with poisons are to dilute them as much as possible until you can get to a healthcare facility. Water and milk are recommended to give to young children and babies with suspected poisoning. It is not recommended to use Ipecac to get a child to throw up. The poison can actually do more damage coming back up, therefore dilution is the best option. If in the eye, it is recommended to put the child in the shower for a continuous flow of water to work with. Of course, if poisoning is suspected, the best thing to do is to call poison control (1-800-222-1222) and/or to go to the ER.


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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      A real interesting hub on those kind of poisons that can kill you and your loved ones (and pets) at home. Very useful.

    • Happy Moment profile image


      3 years ago from The Eastern Bypass

      Your article is quite informative. I actually read an article of a child who died after accidentally swallowing a small battery.


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