Some of the most dangerous poisons include the following (not in order):
- Medicines: these are OK in the right amount for the right person. They can be dangerous for children who take the wrong medicine or swallow too much.
- Iron pills: adult-strength iron pills are very dangerous for children to swallow. Children can start throwing up blood or have bloody diarrhea in less than an hour.
- Cleaning products that cause chemical burns: these can be just as bad as burns from fire. Products that cause chemical burns include drain openers, toilet bowl cleaners, rust removers, and oven cleaners.
- Nail glue remover and nail primer: some products used for artificial nails can be poisonous in surprising ways. Some nail glue removers have caused cyanide poisoning when swallowed by children. Some nail primers have caused burns to the skin and mouth of children who tried to drink them.
- Hydrocarbons: this is a broad category that includes gasoline, kerosene, lamp oil, motor oil, lighter fluid, furniture polish, and paint thinner. These liquids are easy to choke on if someone tries to swallow them, and if that happens they can go down the wrong way and into the lungs instead of the stomach. If any of these substances get into the lungs, it becomes difficult to breathe, and can cause lung inflammation (like pneumonia). Hydrocarbons are among the leading causes of poisoning death in children.
- Pesticides: chemicals to kill bugs and other pests must be used carefully to keep from harming humans. Many pesticides can be absorbed through the skin. Many can also enter the body by breathing in the fumes. Some can affect the nervous system and can make it hard to breathe.
- Windshield washer solution and antifreeze: small amounts of these liquids are poisonous to humans and pets. Windshield washer solution can cause blindness and death if swallowed. Antifreeze can cause kidney failure and death if swallowed.
- Wild mushrooms: many types of mushrooms grow in many areas of the country. Some are deadly to eat. Only experts in mushroom identification can tell the difference between poisonous mushrooms and safe mushrooms.
- Alcohol: when children swallow alcohol, they can have seizures, go into a coma, or even die. This is true no matter where the alcohol comes from: mouthwash, facial cleaners, and hair tonics can have as much alcohol in them as alcoholic beverages.