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Seasonal Poisoning Hazards: Spring


Household items: cleaning agents, pesticides, gardening supplies and plants

Common household cleaning products are the number one cause of accidental poisoning in children.

  • Keep all cleaning products out of the reach of children.
  • Many chemicals used to control insects, rodents and weeds are toxic to humans and pets. Avoid using products that leave powder or pellets in areas where children or pets can get into them.
  • Children and pets should be kept out of the area when insecticides and other garden chemicals are being sprayed.
  • Read and follow the instructions on labels carefully.
  • Always store products in original containers.

Food poisoning

Spring weather brings picnics and barbecues, which require proper food storage and handling. When bacteria contaminates food, food poisoning can occur.

  • Food poisoning symptoms include vomiting and/or diarrhea. These usually occur 1-12 hours after eating.
  • In the case of food poisoning, drink liquids to prevent dehydration.
  • Mild cases of food poisoning may be managed at home, but more severe cases require medical attention.

Food storage

  • Place frozen foods in the freezer and refrigerated foods in the refrigerator as soon after shopping as possible.
  • Set your refrigerator at 40ºF, the freezer at 0ºF. If you don’t have a thermometer, keep your refrigerator as cold as possible without freezing your milk or lettuce.
  • Thaw foods in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
  • Don’t buy canned goods that are bulging, dented or rusted.
  • Refrigerate food within 2 hours of cooking.
  • When picnicking, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

Food preparation

  • Wash hands in hot, soapy water before, and frequently during, food preparation.
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Wash cutting boards and utensils in hot, soapy water or a 10% bleach solution after use.


  • Thoroughly cook all meats, poultry and seafood.
  • Don’t eat raw or partially cooked eggs or shellfish.
  • Cook foods as close to serving time as possible.

24-hour Poison Control Center hotline: 1-800-222-1222

Easter egg dyes

  • When buying materials for dyeing eggs, choose those labeled NON-TOXIC.
  • Children often mistake the colored tablets for candy. Always supervise children when dyeing eggs.

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