Poisonings don’t take a vacation. They happen 365 days a year. If you’re traveling to visit family, friends, or going on a trip, poisonings can still happen, and in fact they might even be more likely. Let’s learn about how to stay safe while away.
Anywhere in the United States and US Territories, you can reach a certified poison center by calling 1-800-222-1222. There are 55 poison centers across the country that have poison experts available 24/7/365. Yes, even on holidays!
Program our number in your phone, you never know when or where you’ll be when you need it! Encourage your friends and family to program the number as well.
When traveling, you are at an increased risk of a poisoning. Daily routines are interrupted and you’re in different environments. When you are visiting places that aren’t your usual environment, medicines, cleaners, and other potential poisons may not be stored in the way you and your family are used to. Items you store up, away, and out of sight may be stored in plain sight and be easily accessible.
Although trips are times to relax, ensure children are always supervised. Poisonings happen quickly, so it’s important to have at least one adult supervising children. Children may be more interested in exploring a space they aren’t used to.
It’s important to continue safe storage practices when traveling. Medicines, personal care products, and cleaning products should be stored up, away, and out of sight. If you are traveling, ensure you store medicines and other potential poisons in a cabinet, or ensure your suitcase is securely closed. If you are hosting, offer your guests a safe place to store their items that is up, away, and out of sight.
If you are visiting somewhere, it is good practice to scope out the location and move potential poisons to a safe storage place before allowing children and pets to roam the area.
It is best to pack medicines in their original, labeled packages. Never pack loose pills in a plastic baggie. Children associate plastic baggies with treats and may ingest what is in the baggie. Adults may forget what medicines they put in the baggie and take the wrong dose or wrong medicine. The original labeled packages include dosing and other important information that should be read when taking medicines. Although using pill minders and other travel-friendly pill containers are convenient, they can be dangerous if children, pets, and others get into the products if they are not stored safely.
If your travels are only for the day and you are taking food, it is important to remember safe food storage practices. Be sure to keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Cold foods can be kept in a cooler or ice bath, and hot foods can be kept in an insulated container or bag. Always remember, food should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours! After two hours, the chances of getting food poisoning increases.
From all of us at the Maryland Poison Center, we wish you a safe and healthy holiday season. But as always, our poison experts are available 24/7/365 at 1-800-222-1222.