How To Create
Indiana Poison Center
I65 at 21st Street
P.O. Box 1367
Indianapolis IN 46206-1367
1. Look-A-Like Display
This acrylic box was purchased from D & H Acrylic Designs, 1690 Wales Ave., Indianapolis IN 46218, 317-356-4120.
Please call the company directly if you are interested in purchasing boxes. NB: contents are not included.
Description: A look-a-like display shows a variety of potentially poisonous items that look like
non-poisonous items. The purpose of this type of display is to show parents and children how
easily a poison can be mistaken for something that is good to eat or drink.
Sparkling laxative and ginger ale (bottle) sparkling laxative (cherry flavor) and red soda pop --
these laxatives look and smell very much like soda to a young child. They can cause dehydration and
electrolyte imbalances if ingested in large amounts.
Comet cleanser and grated parmesan cheese (green containers) -- these products and their
containers are both very easy to confuse. You can prevent this confusion by never storing food
products and cleaning products in the same cupboard.
Mouse bait pellets in a box and Candy in the same type of box -- these products are not so much
look-a-likes as sound-a-likes. To a young child the brightly colored boxes are both attractive and when
shaken they sound identical.
Chocolate laxative and chocolate candy -- many medicines look and taste like candy, but they are
not candy. Never call medicine candy to encourage a child to take it. All medicines (and vitamins)
should be stored out of reach of children.
Beer and soda pop -- there are many beers and alcoholic beverages on the market that resemble sodas
and fruit juices. Be aware of these similarities so that you don't store look-alike beer and soda side by
side in the refrigerator. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause problems in small children.
Lamp oil and juice (same color) -- this is a good example of two liquids that are almost identical in
color and consistency. Lamp oil contains a petroleum distillate, which can cause severe respiratory
distress when ingested.
Mothballs and mini-marshmallows -- placing a few mothballs on a table next to a few mini
marshmallows, you will see how similar they look. The strong scent of the mothballs cannot be relied
upon to be a deterrent.
Pine cleaner and apple juice -- if you hold these two containers side by side you'll see that the liquids
are almost identical in color and consistency. Drinking a pine cleaner could be deadly.
Red decongestant or cold preparation (Sudafed) and cinnamon “red hot” candies – If you place a
few of each in a sandwich bag and ask a child if it’s candy, they will most likely say “yes”. These two
products are very similar. Many adults cannot tell the difference. It’s important to store products in
their original containers. Don't carry medicine in your purse or pocket in a plastic bag.
Dishwashing liquid and lemon juice (both with lemons on the label) -- some adults, as well as
children cannot read. They use pictures as a guide to what is in a container. Be aware of products like
Windshield washer fluid & blue punch/Kool Aid® -- These two products are not only similar in
color, but they also both taste sweet. Windshield washer fluid is one of the most toxic substances to
ingest. As a safeguard, all garage items should be stored on a high shelf and never in old food
Children’s vitamins that look like candy, (look for gummy bears, gummy worms, jellybeans, etc.
from drug stores and groceries) and similar candy. Vitamins that contain iron are especially
dangerous for children.
Raid insect spray and vegetable oil in spray cans (same color cans). Bug killer should never be
stored in a kitchen area near food products.
These are only a few suggestions. To find additional pairs, go to your local store and
look in the aisles. You'll be amazed at the large number of look-a-likes to be found.
*Please note: The above items have been chosen for illustrative purposes only. The Indiana Poison
Center does not mean to imply that these products are dangerous when used as directed.
Preparation: Gather pairs of potentially poisonous and non-poisonous items and display them on a
table (out of reach of children) or in a display case. Items can also be stored and carried in inexpensive
2. Medicine and Candy Display
Description: A medicine and candy display is an effective way to show adults how difficult it can
be to distinguish between medicine and candy, especially for children.
Materials: One 8xl0 plastic, clear shadow box, available at craft stores
One 8x 10 colored sheet of paper
One piece of each of similar medicine and candy pairs such as:
Alka Seltzer® White Necco Wafer®
Orange or red Aspergum Orange or red Chiclet®
Red Sudafed® pill Red hot candy
Flavored Tums® tablet Same flavor Sweet Tart®
Tylenol® Good' n Plenty®
Children’s vitamins Gummy bears, worms or jelly beans
*Please note: The above items have been chosen/or illustrative purposes only. The Indiana Poison
Center does not mean to imply that these products are dangerous when used as
Preparation: 1. Write the heading, "Can You Tell the Difference?" onto the colored paper.
2. Divide the paper into two columns - one marked "candy" and one marked
3. Glue each piece of candy in a vertical row under the candy header and the
look-a-like medicine in a vertical row next to the candy.
4. Place the paper into the shadow box.
3. Medicine and Candy Game
Place label on
back of bag for Sudafeds and redhot
self-checking of candy
Tums and Sweetarts
Jelly beans and
Description: The medicine and candy display shows the similarities between medicine and candy.
Materials: Medicine and candy look-a-likes (see list in display # 2)
Piece of board
Small sealable plastic bags (available at craft stores - or snack size sandwich bags cut in
half with open seams taped)
Stapler and scissors
Preparation: 1. Cover the bulletin board with colored paper
2. Create a heading for the board such as: "Is It Medicine Or Candy?"
3. Place a few of each type of pill into separate plastic bags. Do the same for the
4. Staple or tape the medicine and candy pairs onto the board next to each other.
5. Write the name of the product on the back of the bags or, for children, place a
"smiley" face behind the bags that contain candy and a "frownie" face behind the bags
containing medicine so answers can be self checked.
4. Safety Lock Display
Description: A safety lock display is an effective way to show devices that are available to help
"poison proof” homes. The locks can be purchased in the infant and children's section of department
stores, in discount stores, drug stores, baby stores and some grocery stores. (Remind audience that
nothing is one hundred percent childproof. These devices can slow children down but, given enough
time, children may be able to figure them out!)
Materials: Safety locks for cabinets, drawers and doors
Preparation: 1. Cover the board with the paper
2. Create a heading for the board such as “Keep Poisons Locked Up!”
3. Attach the locks to the board either in or out of the package. If you take them
out of the package to display, label how they should be used (i.e., on a cabinet, drawer,
5. Poisonous Plant Display
Description: A display of real or fake (silk or plastic), or pictures of poisonous plants is an effective
way to increase awareness about poisonous plants. You will find a complete listing of poisonous
indoor and outdoor plants following this section.
Materials: 1. Real or fake (silk or plastic) poisonous plants (available at craft stores or plant
Or 2. Colored photos or drawings of plants, mounted on card
The following plants have been listed according to how poisonous they are. This is not a complete list.
For more information on plants, call the Indiana Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Severe Moderate Minor Non-toxic
American Yew Acorn Aloe African Violet
Autumn Crocus Bittersweet Amarylis Baby’s Breath
Azalea Black Locust Bleeding Banana Peel
Castor Bean Black Walnut Caladium Boston Fern
English Yew Boxhedge Chrysanthemum Christmas Cactus
Foxglove Buckeye Daffodil Croton
Hemlock Christmas Cherry Dieffenbachia Dahlia
Holly Deadly Nightshade Dumbcane Dandelion
Japanese Yew Delphinium Elephant’s Ear Easter Lilly
Jequerty Bean English Ivy Eucalyptus Forsythia
Lily-of-the-valley False Hellebore Horse Chestnut Grass
Oleander Jerusalem Cherry Hyacinth Heart Begonia
Rhododendron Jimson Weed Hydrangea Impatiens
Rosary Pea May Apple Iris Jade Plant
Water Hemlock Milkweed Jack-in-the-Pulpit Lilac
Mistletoe Lantana Mulberry Tree
Morning Glory Peony Palm Tree
Tobacco Philodendron Peanut
Wisteria Pokeweed Petunia
Virginia Creeper Schefflera
Poison Ivy Poison Sumac Poison Oak