Even the mildest chemicals, medicines, animals and plants can be dangerous to your family, but preventing poisoning at home can be simple.

Common poisons

Most poisonings in the home are caused by common household products, including:

  • prescription and over-the-counter medicines (including herbal or 'traditional' products)
  • household cleaning products and detergents
  • pesticides, fertilisers and pool chemicals
  • health and beauty products such as aftershave, deodorant and nail polish remover.

Many poisonings occur when poisons are left in reach of children, especially:

  • just after purchase
  • when being used
  • when moving
  • when visiting other people's homes.

Tips for preventing poisoning at home

  • Install child-resistant mechanisms on all doors where poisons or medicines are stored.
  • Store medicines and poisons out of reach and out of sight of children—in a high, locked or child resistant cupboard is best.
  • Buy poisonous items with child resistant packaging and check they are working properly.
  • Unpack shopping bags immediately and put all medicine and poisons out of sight and reach of children.
  • Always tightly close and put away medicine and poisons after use.
  • Never transfer poisons to another container, especially drink or food containers.

Other poisons


  • Snakes
  • Spiders
  • Insects
  • Cane toads
  • Marine creatures—bluebottles, stinging fish, jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, cone shells.

Learn how to treat bites and stings.


Certain trees, flowers, berries, mushrooms and the sap of some plants is highly toxic.

Read about treating plant or fungi poisoning.

First aid

If you think someone may have been poisoned, don't wait for symptoms to occur.

If the person has collapsed or is not breathing, call Triple Zero (000) and ask for an ambulance. Once the ambulance is on its way, call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 for first aid advice. Don't try to make the person vomit unless Poisons Information Centre or a doctor recommend it.