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Poison Lookalikes

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Poison Look-alikes in the Home


What is a poison look-alike?

A poison is anything that can make you sick if you swallow it, taste it, smell it, get it on your skin or in your eye. A “look-alike” poison is a poisonous product that might look like a safe, edible product or a product intended for adult use only (e.g. nicotine gum). An adult is usually able to tell the difference between a safe product and a poison look-alike, but many young children cannot.



What are some common examples of poison look-alikes in the home? (items listed in each photo, left to right)


Regular chewing gum and nicotine chewing gum








Assorted candy and medication










Window cleaner, sports drink, fluoride mouthwash







Shaving cream, whipping topping








Bleach, laundry detergent, orange juice







Marshmellow, bleach laundry pods









Candy, button batteries








E-cigarette, lip gloss







Child Safety Link recommends the following to help prevent look-alike poisonings in your home:

• Keep all potential poisons locked up high, and out of reach of children.
• Keep products in their original containers.
• Do not remove labels from containers; labels may include important safety information.
• Never store potential poisons near food.
• Keep purses and coats out of reach of children, they could contain potential poisons.


If you know or even suspect that your child has eaten a poison, it is best to call for advice immediately. 

In Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, call the IWK Regional Poison Centre at 1-800-565-8161 or (902)470-8161. In New Brunswick, call 911.  The IWK Regional Poison Centre is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week as a confidential source of information on poisons and poison exposures for both children and adults.