More than 850 Hawke's Bay residents were poisoned last year after ingesting everything from noxious plants to antidepressants and household rodenticide.
The New Zealand National Poisons Centre hotline - 0800 POISONS - received 978 calls from Hawke's Bay in 2012.
More than 850 were actual poisonings and 125 were "other calls". The most common query from Hawke's Bay related to poisonings from plant matter - 51.
Twenty-four locals called the line last year after ingesting household insecticides, 21 due to antidepressants and 11 for agricultural rodenticide.
Household cleaners accounted for 46 calls, cosmetics 35 and petrol 12. Air freshener, insect repellent and "therapeutic antiobesity" also made the list.
Victims' ages ranged from 1 month to 91 years - the most common were toddlers aged 24 months.
Poisons Centre operations manager Lucy Shieffelbien said "other calls" related to non-exposure scenarios, including drug information requests or queries about cleaning up chemical spills.
Nationally, the most common calls were broken down into three categories, therapeutics, plants and household substances.
The most common household substance calls included petrol, Palmolive dishwashing liquid, alcohol, Raid liquid ant killer, bubble blowing mixture, glowsticks, super glue and bleach.
Ms Shieffelbien said many misconceptions existed around poisonings.
"In the good old days it was 'make the child vomit, induce vomiting' - they used to give you all sorts of nasty things to drink.
"But we don't advocate that now, simply because, if it's something corrosive and it's burnt on the way down and you make a person vomit - it's likely to burn on the way back up again and cause more injury.
"The actual fact of making someone heave can actually make you absorb the poison faster."
Making a child throw up dishwashing liquid could cause it to foam up and get into the child's lungs, she said.
The most common therapeutic-related calls included paracetamol, ibuprofen, zopiclone, diclofenac, codeine, amoxycillin, tramadol, aspirin and diazepam.
The most common plant-related calls were due to unidentified plants.
Other plants included black nightshade, arum lily, taro, phoenix palm, daffodil, chillies, kowhai, karaka berries and hemlock - the plant used to kill Socrates in ancient Greece.
Ms Shieffelbien said the Centre received calls daily about plant-related poisonings. But as the plants couldn't be identified over the phone, callers were usually advised to visit their garden centre or nursery before calling back.
"The biggest advice that we can give over the phone is to know what's in your garden," she said.
Although the leaves of potato plants were poisonous, the Centre wouldn't tell parents to rip out their crop. It was about educating children and making the garden less accessible, she said.
"Things like swan plants are highly toxic but they have a huge educational value.
"We say grow them, teach the children, but put them in things like say a bird cage or put wire netting around it so little fingers can't get in there."
A team of eight staff with health science backgrounds work at the Poisons Centre on a 24-hour roster.
The Centre is jointly-funded by the Ministry of Health, ACC and the University of Otago.
By the numbers:
- 978 calls from Hawke's Bay in 2012 (853 actual poisonings, 125 other calls).
- 1021 calls in 2011 (892 actual poisonings, 129 other calls).