Can Your Child Spot the Difference? Look-a-Like Poisons Pose Dangers to Young Children

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

For young children that cannot read labels, many products around the home can look like popular cndy or drinks. Even products that can be good for you, like vitamins and medicines, can become harmful if you do not follow thChemical Safetye label directions.

In the U.S., poisoning is now the leading cause of unintentional injury death, and nearly 9 out of 10 poisoning deaths are caused by drugs according to the NCHS (National Center for Health Statistics). In 2012, unintentional poisonings were the leading cause of injury death in the U.S. surpassing motor vehicle crashes.

Here are some common poison look-a-likes you may find around your home:

  1. Gummy Bears vs. Gummy Vitamins
  2. Chocolate vs. Laxatives
  3. Sports Drinks & Juice vs. Household Cleaners & Mouthwash
  4. Candy vs. Laundry or Dishwasher Pods
  5. Gum vs. Nicotine Gum
  6. Water vs. Bleach or Rubbing Alcohol
  7. Shredded Beef Jerky vs. Chewing Tobacco
  8. Kraft Parmesan Cheese Container vs. Comet Cleanser Container
  9. Toothpaste vs. bathtub caulking
  10. Eye Drops vs. Superglue

Chemical safety is a very popular topic taught at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® and was offered at more than 200 events throughout 2014. During Safety Days, participants learn they should never touch or put anything in their mouth unless they are positive what it is or unless a trusted adult tells them it is safe. As parents, grandparents and caring adults, it is our responsibility to be proactive in keeping children safe. Be sure to:

  • Label harmful products and place them out of reach of children
  • Avoid moving poisons or chemicals from their original container
  • Lead by example and use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when handling chemicals
  • Keep the telephone number of the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) in a place easy to locate in case of an emergency.

These chemical safety tips are examples of what children & families learn when they attend a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® offered throughout North America. To date, more than 1.4 million children & adults have been impacted by a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in their local community. Learn more about the program at

Photo: At a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® held last year in Minnesota, participants learn that many liquids, powders and tablets in your home or on a farm look like things we eat or drink on a regular basis. Children learn a variety of safety lessons including the importance of properly identifying anything they touch or put in their mouth.