Children 6-12

While the risk of poisoning decreases as children get older, parents of school-aged children should still be mindful of potential poisons. Most poisonings are preventable!

Risk Factors Special to School-Aged Children

  • Independence

    As children get older, they become more independent. They feel they can do more on their own, which can lead to medicine mishaps.

  • Spending time alone

    As children get older, there is less adult supervision. This leaves time for the children to experiment with medicines and household products.

  • Sense of invincibility

    Children this age are ready to grab the bull by the horns.  Their enhanced sense of independence enables them to do many more things, but they are often unable to fully understand cause and effect, or to determine the amount of risk they face.

  • Dares and peer pressure

    Most children are faced with a dare from a friend or classmate at some time or another. Many dares are harmless; others can have severe consequences. Poison centers can help determine which are which.

  • Substance use

    Studies show that children are experimenting with drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and household products at increasingly younger ages. The types of substances are also changing over time; for example, vaping has rapidly become a popular activity among children and teens, and the presence of these products in more homes may also pose additional risks to young children.



  • Teach children about the safe use of household products and medication, with emphasis on having adult supervision where appropriate. 
  • Children under the age of 12 should not take medicine on their own. An adult should supervise a child each time they take a medicine, even if it is something they take every day. Stress the importance of asking an adult before taking a medicine or using a household product.
  • Talk honestly about the dangers of misusing household products and medicines.
  • Begin having talks about the consequences of dares and negative peer pressure. 

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