The most common form of poisoning in the UK is from medication.
To reduce the risk of accidental poisoning by medication:
always carefully read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medication and take the exact dose recommended
if you're unsure about any of the instructions or have further questions, ask your pharmacist or GP for advice
some medications shouldn't be taken with alcohol or certain types of food – check if this is the case for your medication
some medications can react unpredictably if taken with other medications, including herbal remedies – always check before combining different medications.
never take a medication that's been prescribed for someone else
keep all medication out of reach of children
Keeping children safe
Children under 5 years of age have a particularly high risk of poisoning. To reduce the risk for your children:
make sure all medicines, cleaning products, chemicals and potentially harmful cosmetics, such as nail varnish, are locked away out of the sight and out of reach of children
don't store medicines, cleaning products or chemicals near food
keep all chemicals in their original containers and never put medicines or chemicals, such as weedkiller, in soft drinks bottles
when encouraging children to take medicine (when they're sick), don't refer to tablets as sweets
don't leave old medicines lying around – take them to your local pharmacist to dispose of safely
keep cigarettes and tobacco out of the reach of children and don't smoke in front of children
small batteries, such as those used for television remote controls, can be easily swallowed, so keep them out of the reach of children
whenever possible, buy medicines that come in child-resistant containers
rinse out medicine or cosmetic containers and dispose of them in a place where children can't reach them
don't take or give medicines in the dark, to avoid taking an incorrect dosage
If you have young children, be extra careful when you have guests to stay or when you go to visit other people. If your friends and relatives don't have children, they may not keep certain items out of reach and their home is unlikely to be childproof.
Keep an eye on your children at all times and politely ask guests to keep items such as alcohol and cigarettes out of their reach.