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Ontario Poison Centre

Fall Hazards

The fall season brings with it cooler weather and nature's prettiest colours. As seasons change, so do the kinds of poisons that are commonly found in and around the home. Learn more about common fall hazards and poison prevention tips. 

Carbon Monoxide

As the weather grows colder, we begin using various devices to warm our homes including furnaces, fireplaces and stoves. These devices, if not working properly, may emit a highly toxic gas known as carbon monoxide. 

Poison Prevention Tips: 

  • Have your heating system checked every year by a qualified inspector before turning the furnace on in the fall. 
  • Make sure your chimney is checked each year and cleared of any blockages such as branches or birds’ nests. 
  • Use fuel-burning heaters only in well ventilated areas, and only as directed. 
  • Never leave a motorized vehicle running in the garage. 
  • All homes should have a carbon monoxide detector installed. If it alarms, leave the house immediately and call 911. If anyone in the home has symptoms such as headache or dizziness they should go to the nearest Emergency Department. 

Cold & Flu 

During cold and flu season, we see increased use of cough/cold medicines and hand sanitizers. 

Poison Prevention Tips: 

  • Check the active ingredients section on the DRUG FACTS section of the medicine label. Do not used two medicines at the same time that contain the same or similar ingredients. 
  • Follow dosing instructions and never take more medicine than directed. 
  • Do not give medicine to a child that is intended for adult use. 
  • Never use cough/cold medicines to make a child sleepy. 
  • If you have young children in your home, keep medicine and hand sanitizers locked up when not in use.  

Mushrooms & Berries 

Some plants, berries and mushrooms growing in and around your home may be harmful when eaten. 

Learn more about plant safety. 

Learn more about mushrooms. 

Halloween Safety

Halloween can be a time of fun and adventure for children, but parents need to use caution to keep their children safe.

Poison Prevention Tips: 

  • Use non-toxic face paint or makeup. 
  • Dry ice is sometimes put into punch bowls. Do not touch or drink it. If touched, it can cause frostbite; if swallowed, dry ice can cause burns inside your mouth. 
  • Glow sticks and necklaces are popular with children on Halloween. Sometimes children will break the stick or chew through it, causing the liquid to get in their mouth, on their skin or in their eyes. The liquid is not seriously harmful, but can cause a stinging or burning sensation if splashed on the skin or eyes. 

First Aid

If your child comes in contact with the liquid in a glow stick follow our First Aid advice.


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