It happens every eight seconds in America: Someone calls a poison control center after being exposed to a toxic substance.
As part of National Poison Prevention Week, experts are warning the public to be aware of the poisons around them.
Approximately 90 percent of the more than 2 million poisonings reported each year to poison centers occur at home. Fifty-one percent of those involve children under the age of 6, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
The top three poison categories among adults include pain killers and over-the-counter pain relievers, sedatives and sleep aids and antidepressants.
"People need to be very careful to check the ingredients of certain medications," said Kathy Calton, emergency room director at McKay-Dee Hospital. "Even a medication like Tylenol can be very dangerous if too much is taken."
Among children, the top three poison categories are cosmetics and personal care products, household cleaning products and painkillers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
"Usually the accidental poisonings I have seen are children," Calton said. "I saw a child who took one of the grandparent's heart pills. The effect of the pill was to slow the heart rate. Even though the child only took one pill, he had to be observed in the hospital overnight to make sure the effects were gone."
Calton also said children have been taken to the emergency room after ingesting too many vitamins.
Calton said the best way to avoid the problem is to keep all medications in a safe and secure place.
"Don't store medications in a purse or something that a child can play with," she said. "I can't count how many times I've heard, 'I'm really careful with my medications. I don't know how he got into that.' "
If they do get into something, Calton said to bring the packaging to the emergency room so the staff can see what ingredients were ingested.
There are other poisons to watch out for, experts say. They recommend highly concentrated liquid laundry detergent that comes in little packets be kept up high and locked up. They are colorful and squishy and a child may mistake them for a toy.
Button batteries are another highly dangerous poison, according to the poison control center. Because they are small and shiny, they are an attraction for small children. If swallowed, the battery can burn a hole in the stomach or esophagus, and may cause permanent damage.
Calton cautioned that alcohol is another poison of which to be aware.
"Binge drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning," she said.
When children swallow alcohol, they can have seizures, go into a coma and even die. Mouthwash, hair tonics and some cosmetics have alcohol in them.
Pesticides can also be poisonous if a person breathes the fumes. Windshield washer solution and antifreeze, even in small amounts are also toxic to both humans and animals.
And while we're on the subject of our four legged friends, the Pet Poison Hotline is reminding the public about the vulnerability of animals.
Last year, more than 40 percent of the calls received at the center involved pets that had ingested human medication and supplements. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, xylitol, a sweetner found in sugarless candy and gum, grapes, onions, raisins, garlic, yeast-based dough, table salt and macadamia nuts are also very dangerous for your pets.
The Utah Poison Control hotline number is 1-800-222-1222. The Pet Poison Hotline can be reached at 1-800-213-6680.