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The Center for Children's Health

Poison Prevention

Poison Prevention

Half of the 2.4 million calls to Poison Control Centers in 2010 involved children ages 5 and under. In fact, 9 out of 10 poisonings occur at home.

If you have questions about potential poisons, medication dosage, or a poison emergency call the North Texas Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 The North Texas Poison Center is open 24/7 and the call is free. Calls are answered by nurses and pharmacists and 80 percent of them are handled at home, without having to go to the Emergency Room. Call 9-1-1 if your child won't wake up, is having trouble breathing or is having seizures.

Create a safe habit and be prepared in case of an emergency, enter 1-800-222-1222 into your cell phone today.

Find local drop boxes where you can properly dispose of your unused or expired medications.
Browse list of locations


Facts

Poisons effect a wide range of ages and 70% of the poisonings treated at Cook Children's are medication related, while many others are due to common household products.

  • Infants are often incorrectly dosed with medications, either from being given the wrong amount or wrong type of medicine.
  • Toddlers learn by exploring and putting things into their hands and mouth. They cannot read labels and often mistake poisons for candy or juice.
  • School-age children who are becoming more independent may make a mistake when taking daily medications without caregiver supervision.

Medication safety

To a child, the colors and shapes of medicine may look like candy or juice. The wrong medicine or the wrong amounts of medicine can cause severe injury to a child's small body. It is important to store prescription drugs, over-the-counter pain medicine and vitamins up high, in a locked or child-proofed cabinet. Medication safety starts with prevention and includes safe dosing, safe storage and safe disposal.

Safe dosing

  • Always follow directions when giving medicine to your child.
  • Create safe habits by having reoccurring reminders. Consider creating cell phones alerts or using medication schedules for dosing times.
  • Double dosing is NOT twice as effective, and in many instances can cause internal damage.
  • Adult medications may be too strong for children and should not be given in half doses. Only give medicine to your child that is intended for children.
  • Read the warnings and follow package or physician directions.

Safe storage

  • Many people leave medications on bathroom and kitchen counters as well as bedroom nightstand as a visual reminder to take them. Avoid unintentional injury and store medication up high, locked and out of reach.
  • Keep medication in the original container to avoid confusion or poisonings.
  • Hang purses and personal bags up high, so children are unable to reach prescriptions, vitamins, or other routinely used medications.
  • Remember when visiting friends and family it is ok to have an open discussion about safe storage.

Safe disposal

It is important to dispose of your unused and expired medications because:

  • It is dangerous to use medication that are expired or prescribed for someone else.
  • It can reduce access of potentially harmful medication.
  • It can help prevent drug use that may lead to lifelong struggles with substance abuse.
  • It helps protect our environment.

Community drop box locations

The best disposal option is to find a drug take back location which may be found in retail, hospital, pharmacies, and/or law enforcement facilities.

All Counties

City Location Drop-off times
Arlington Walgreens
3400 Matlock Rd. 76015
Open 24 hours
Arlington Walgreens
2410 Ballpark Way 76006
8 a.m-12 a.m.
Blue Mound Blue Mound Police Department
301 Blue Mound Road 76131
Open 24 hours
Burleson Burleson Police Department
1161 SW Wilshire Blvd 76028
Open 24 hours
Euless Euless Police Department
1102 W. Euless Blvd 76040
M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Fort Worth Cook Children's Medical Center – Retail Pharmacy
801 7th Ave. 76104
8 a.m.-midnight
Fort Worth FW Police Station - Central Division
501 Jones St. 76102
M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Fort Worth FW Police Station - East Division
1100 Nashville Ave. 76105
M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Fort Worth FW Police Station - North Division
2500 N. Houston St. 76164
M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Fort Worth FW Police Station - South Division
7650 McCart Ave. 76133
M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Fort Worth FW Police Station - West Division
3525 Marquita Dr. 76116
M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Fort Worth JPS Health Network - Main Campus Pharmacy
1500 S. Main 76107
 
Fort Worth Tarrant County Corrections Center
100 N. Lamar 76196
 
Fort Worth Tarrant County Sheriff's Office – North Patrol
6651 Lake Worth Blvd. 76135
 
Fort Worth Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth
1301 Pennsylvania Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76014
Open 24 hours
Fort Worth UNT Health Science Center
3600 Mattison Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76107
 
Fort Worth Walgreens
6205 Westcreek Dr. 76133
Open 24 hours
Grapevine
Grapevine Police Department
307 West Dallas Road 76051
Open 24 hours
Haltom City
Walgreens
4520 Western Ctr. Blvd. 76137
Open 24 hours
Hurst Hurst Police Department
825 Thousand Oaks  76054
Open 24 hours
Hurst Walgreens
780 W Bedford -Euless Rd. 76053
Open 24 hours
Keller Keller Police Department
330 Rufe Snow Drive 76248
Open 24 hours
Mansfield Mansfield Police Department
1305 E. Broad St. 76063
M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
North Richland Hills North Richland Hills Police Department
4301 City Point Dr. 76180
Open 24 hours
Roanoke Roanoke Police Department
609 Dallas Dr. 76262
Open 24 hours
Southlake Southlake Police Department
600 State St. 76092
M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Watauga Watauga Police Department
7101 Whitley Rd. 76148
M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Westworth Village Westworth Village Police Department
311 Burton Hill Rd. 76114
Open 24 hours

Accepted drop box disposal items

  • Prescription / Over-the-counter medications
  • Veterinary (animal) medications
  • Vitamins / Minerals / Samples

Not accepted drop box disposal items

  • Oxygen tanks / nebulizers
  • Needles / Sharps
  • Thermometers / IV bags
  • Any equipment or syringes to administer medications

Home disposal

If you do not have a drug take back location near you, check the FDA's flush list. Visit here to check if your medication is on the flush list. Remember, do NOT flush medications not on this list.

If your medication is not on the flush list you can follow these simple steps.

  • Mix medicines (liquid or uncrushed pills) with an unappealing substance such as dirt, cat litter, or used coffee grounds.
  • Place the mixture in a container, such as a sealed plastic bag.
  • Throw away the container in the trash.
  • Remove all personal information on the prescription label and packaging. Then trash and/or recycle the empty bottle and label.
  • Medication syringes should be disposed of in a sharps container, or if unavailable, placed inside a thick plastic container (detergent bottle) and sealed.

Household poisonings

Safe proof your home in advance and avoid potential danger zones. Take a tour of each room, inside and out, and look for the dangers we've outlined below. Consider what a child can see and reach at their height. The little time it takes to do this can help prevent accidental poisonings.

Poisonous products

For young children who are not yet reading and like to explore, poisonous products may look like food, drinks, and candy.

  • Clothes detergents/pods are often swallowed because they are colorful and soft to the touch. Be sure to keep containers sealed and out of reach.
  • Nicotine and vaping liquids tend to have enticing flavors and smells that are attractive to children. Hang purses and personal bags up high, so children are unable to grab cigarettes, vaping liquids, and other routinely used products.
  • Floor cleaners and other cleaning liquids often look and smell like fruit juices and other common drinks. Designate specific cabinets to store cleaning supplies that can be locked and out of a child's reach.
  • Some plants may be poisonous to young, exploring children, as well as to animals. Visit https://www.poison.org/articles/plant for a list of poisonous plants.
  • Lawn chemicals, pesticides, and car cleaners should be kept in their original containers with labels so they are not mistaken for common drinks.
  • Toys that are meant for kids often have hidden dangers, such as button batteries or small items that are choking hazards. Be sure to read labels, follow manufacturer's age recommendations and ensure any battery covers are kept intact.

Safe and sound pain management

Cook Children’s Opioid Stewardship Committee led by Dr. Artee Gandhi, strives to reduce the risk of harm from addiction, ingestion, misuse, overdose, and death through best practices and education on the safe and sound practice of pain management. Ultimately, the goal is to build a framework for pain management that fulfills our Promise.


Help us protect kids from accidental poisoning. Please feel free to use our messaging below or create your own. Be sure to use #poisonprevention when you hashtag your post.

Do you know which one is candy? Kids don't either.

which one is candy

To kids, pills may not look harmful because they may be the same color and shape as candy. It is important to store all types of medication locked up and out of a child's reach. Practice safe storage, safe dosing and safe disposal. #poisonprevention


Be sure to lock up your medications.

Lock up your medications

Kids are curious and often learn by putting things in their mouths. Help them learn what is okay to touch and keep medication and cleaning products locked up and out of reach. Practice safe storage, safe dosing and safe disposal. #poisonprevention


Read the label to make sure you're giving your child the proper dosage.

Proper dosage

It is critical to follow directions when giving medicine to your child. Double dosing is not twice as effective, and may be toxic for a child's body. Practice safe storage, safe dosing and safe disposal. #poisonprevention


Adults may know this is a cleaning product. Does a child see something different?

Children see something different

Kids are attracted to bright colors. Young children who cannot read may see colorful labels or liquids and think it's juice when really it's a household cleaner. Even simple laundry pods can be dangerous. The pods are soft and colorful but have harmful residue if absorbed in their mouths, noses, or ears. Practice safe storage, safe dosing and safe disposal. #poisonprevention


More than 60% of poisonings seen at Cook Children's are medication related.

Most poisonings are medication related

Little kids are curious and still figuring things. Make sure their curiosity doesn't get the best of them (and you) and remember to put all medications in a locked box in an out-of-reach, safe area. #poisonprevention


Deaths by accidental poisonings have doubled since the 1990s.

Death by accidental poisoning

Take the time to tour your house and make sure that medications, pill boxes, household cleaners, and even product such as mouthwash and soap are out of reach from your little one's hands. #poisonprevention


Is your home a danger zone?

Prevent poisoning accidents at home

Take a tour of your home inside and out and look for easy access to medication, pill boxes, household cleaners, and even products such as mouthwash and soap. The little time it takes to do this can help prevent a lifetime of tragedy as the result of a poisoning accident. #poisonprevention


Do you know how to dispose of your medication?

Designated drop off locations

If you have unused or expired medications in your home, it's important to remove them. However, don't just throw them away or flush them down the sink or toilet. Instead, they need to be properly disposed of at designated drop off locations. #poisonprevention


Download all social media graphics

Items to request:

  • Lookalike card (English & Spanish)
  • Home safety plan checklist (English & Spanish)
  • Safe & sound pain management disposal magnet
  • Poison Control Center magnet
  • Medication schedule pad

Additional resources:

Community events


Questions or comments

If you have any questions or would like more information about our program, please email safe.kids@cookchildrens.org.

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