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Summer Hazards

Summer Dangers

Red berries

As seasons change, so do the kinds of poisons that are commonly found in and around the home. Canadians love the long days of summer and we spend a lot of our time outdoors, sometimes with our children playing out of our sight. Remember it only takes seconds for a child to get their hands on something dangerous and unintentionally harm themselves.

Common Causes of Summer Poisonings


Some of the poisons that you may find in and around your home in the summer include plants, flower and herbicides. Also, before going outside in the summer you may be applying insect repellants and sunscreens which may be harmful if swallowed.

A walk through the woods may be very enjoyable, but remember that harmful plants such as poison ivy may be growing anywhere. Mushrooms found in the woods or on lawns can also be deadly and should be avoided.

Pools can be an area where poisonous substances may be found. Pool pucks and other chlorine products added to our pools can be poisonous if breathed in. They might make you feel like you cannot catch your breath, followed by severe coughing and difficulty breathing. If swallowed, they can cause burns to the mouth and stomach.

In the summer, many of us love to go away to cottages and other vacation spots. Harmful substances such as medicines, insect repellents and sunscreens are taken out of safe storage areas and packed in suitcases. As well, children may not be as closely supervised at times when the family's normal daily routine is disturbed.

How to Prevent Summer Poisonings

  • Keep all lamp oil, gasoline and kerosene securely locked and stored in their original containers in the garage or other suitable storage. Do not use oil lamps when you have young children.
  • Some insect repellants contain a toxic ingredient known as DEET as well as large amounts of alcohol. Both ingredients can be poisonous, especially to young children.
  • Never pick mushrooms from lawns or forested areas. Non-poisonous mushrooms can grow right beside the most deadly mushrooms and they may look very similar.
  • Always wear sturdy shoes when walking outside and long pants when walking in tall grasses; shoes can help protect from a surprise snake bite.
  • Keep pool chemicals in a locked area.
  • Open containers of pool chemicals in a well ventilated area. Make sure children and others are a safe distance away.
  • Poison proof your child's environment wherever you are. It is your responsibility to make sure the environment is safe for your children.