Traveling this summer?! Whether you are traveling solo, with family or friends, the excitement of a vacation may cause your guard to come down in regards to poison prevention. The following safety tips highlight ways to avoid an accidental poisoning while traveling.

Pack and store medications and personal care products safely: Be sure to store medications and personal care products securely in their original containers (before, during and after the trip). Keep them out of reach of children, preferably in a locked box or bag.

Store automotive products safely: Keep potentially hazardous products—such as windshield washer fluid, antifreeze or insect repellents—in a separate compartment in your vehicle, away from food and drinks. Always store these chemicals in their original containers.

Food safety: The golden rule of food safety is: Eat hot foods while hot and cold foods while cold. This applies even while traveling in a car. Avoid eating foods that have been kept at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Harmful bacteria can grow rapidly between 40 °F and 140 °F, which can lead to food poisoning.

How to get help: Despite your best efforts, an accidental poisoning can happen to anyone of any age. Here are steps to take if someone has been exposed to a potentially harmful substance while traveling:

  • Call the poison helpline at 1-800-222-1222. This is a national number that will connect you to a local poison center where free, expert advice is available 24/7/365.
  • If the person is unconscious, having seizures or having trouble breathing, immediately call 911 or the local emergency number (if traveling out of the country).
  • Keep the container or label of the product that caused the poisoning with you, if possible, when talking to a poison specialist or hospital clinician.
  • Do not make the person throw up if you think they’ve ingested something potentially harmful; call the poison helpline 1-800-222-1222.

Road trips can create great family memories. Being poisoned on a road trip however is not a memory any family wants. Unintentional exposures to harmful substances can be prevented by following a few simple steps and being vigilant throughout the trip. Best wishes for a safe and healthy trip with your family and friends.