Tennessee Poison Center (TPC) is a comprehensive poison resource center located on the campus of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. We are the statewide poison emergency information and resource center for the public and health care professionals.

Tennessee Poison Center is certified as the statewide poison control center by the Tennessee Department of Health and is certified by the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

Back to School Poison Prevention Tips for Families

Schools throughout Tennessee will open their doors in a few weeks to welcome students for another school year.  For most families, summer and school schedules are drastically different. To make the transition a little easier, Tennessee Poison Center offers quick and easy poison prevention safety tips to help families prepare for the beginning of school.

School and Art Supplies:

• Most school supplies are minimally toxic; however, be sure children use art products safely by reading labels carefully, following the directions for safe use and disposal and cleaning up tables, desks, and counters appropriately.

• Silica gel packets (usually found in shoe boxes): the small round balls inside are not toxic. The only potential danger of silica gel packets is that they are a choking hazard, so do dispose of them as soon as you bring your new purchases home.


• Read and follow directions and warnings on all labels before giving your child medicine.

• Teach your children not to take other people's prescription drugs. Never give your child prescription medication unless it has been prescribed for them specifically by their doctor.

Hand sanitizer:

A lick or taste of hand sanitizer is usually minimally toxic, but more could be harmful. To avoid misuse or unintentional ingestions, TPC advises:

• Parents should advise children on its proper use and purpose.

• Hand sanitizer use should be supervised by an adult.

• Teach children to apply a dime-sized amount to dry hands and rub hands together until completely dry.

• Watching hands with soap and water is still the best method for removing dirt and germs.

These are just a few tips that you can use to get your family back into the swing of a new school year. However, in the event that a poisoning occurs, Tennessee Poison Center provides those who live and work in Tennessee the Poison Help hotline, a 24-hour medical hotline for poison emergency and information calls: 1-800-222-1222. All calls are fast, free and confidential.

Save the Poison Help hotline number in your phone: 1-800-222-1222.

Have a great year!

How You Can Help

Tennessee Poison Center helps more than 127,000 callers a year. We depend on community support in order to provide our vital programs.


This page was last updated August 2, 2016 and is maintained by