[Skip to Content]
Images of blue liquid

Look-alike Products

"Good products" can become "bad products" when you don't follow label directions and instructions.

  • Eye Drops & Super Glue
    Some eye drops can be deadly if ingested by a small child. If anyone mistakenly puts super glue in their eyes, call the poison center. Generally, the first instruction is to flush the eye for at least 15 minutes in the shower, followed by an eye exam. However, call the poison center for specific directives. Remember, you can reduce the risk by keeping these products in two separate locations, far away from one another to reduce the risk of poisoning.
  • Cleanser & Grated Cheese
    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-alikes as sound-alikes. To a young child the brightly colored boxes are both attractive and when shaken they sound identical.
  • Chocolate Laxative & Chocolate Candy
    Many medicines look and taste like 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 & Soda Pop
    There are many beers and alcoholic beverages on the market that resemble sodas and fruit juices. Be aware of these similarities so 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.
  • Gummy Candy & Gummy Vitamins
    Gummies are gummies to a small child. If left within reach, children may take a gummy vitamin, thinking it is a gummy candy. Be sure to let all family members know how to store vitamins out of reach of children and to let them know that gummy vitamins, like any other vitamins are NOT candy. They should be taken only when directed by an adult.
  • Sports Drink and Cleaning Product
    Green Gatorade and cleaning products with lemons or limes on the label often look similar, especially if in a glass or out of their original containers. A cleaning product in a glass sends a mixed message that it is ok to drink! Try not to use a cup or glass to hold a cleaning product, even if for only a short period of time. Most accidents happen in the home.
  • Lamp Oil & Cranberry Juice
    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.
  • Pine cleaner & Apple Juice
    If you hold these two containers side by side you'll see the liquids are almost identical in color and consistency. Drinking a pine cleaner could be deadly.
  • Candy-coated Gum Tablet (think Chiclet brand) and Nicotine Gum
    Lining up these two products, it is hard to tell the difference. A child OR an adult could mistake nicotine gum for candy gum tablets if it is left out on a counter. Nicotine gum contains 2-4 milligrams (mg) of nicotine. A cigarette butt contains 5-7 mg of nicotine. As little as 1 mg of nicotine can cause adverse effects in an infant. Two cigarette butts could kill a child. Be sure gum with nicotine is kept in a safe, secure location to prevent a poisoning. Call the poison center if a child chews or ingests nicotine gum. Small amounts of nicotine can be managed at home, but large amount can be life threatening to a child.
  • Red decongestant/cold preparation & "Red Hots" cake decorations
    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. It's important to store products in their original containers. Don't carry medicine in your purse or pocket.
  • Dishwashing Liquid & Lemon Juice (both with lemons on the label)
    Many adults, as well as children, cannot read. They use pictures as a guide to what is in a container. Be aware of products like these.
  • Candy & Medicine (Examples: Candy “bones” and vitamins; M&Ms and coated aspirin; Skittles and red pain relievers; Altoid mints and white square prescription medication and blue Tic-Tacs and blue cold medicine) Whether an over-the counter pain reliever, vitamin, decongestant or a prescription medicine, be aware that many of those colorful pills and tablets can be attractive to a young child.  Place all medicine up, away and out of the reach of children. Also, be sure to keep it in its original containers to be sure adults don’t make a mistake. 
  • Windshield Washer Fluid, Anti-freeze & Blue Punch/Kool-Aid
    These products are not only similar in color, but are also both sweet tasting. 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 (about 4-1/2 - 5 feet off the ground) and never in old food containers.