SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center
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First Aid: Poisoning

Nearly 90% of childhood poisonings happen in the home and most can be treated at home with advice from the poison control center. However, it's important to know when a poisoning is serious enough to need medical treatment.

Signs and Symptoms

  • drowsiness
  • sudden change in behavior
  • unusual odor
  • pill fragments on the lips or clothes
  • excessive drooling
  • vomiting
  • a confused mental state
  • listlessness

What to Do

  • If you suspect that your child has taken a poison and he or she is alert, contact your local poison control center right away for advice (1-800-222-1222).

Seek Emergency Medical Care or Call 911

If:

  • your child has taken a poison and has a change in mental state. It's important to remember to bring the specific bottle or container of the substance that your child ingested. Do not give a child ipecac.

Think Prevention!

To help prevent poisoning:

  • Keep medicines in locked cabinets.
  • Keep cleaning products and alcohol in locked cabinets or far out of reach.
  • Discard (or recycle) used button cell batteries (like those in watches) safely and store unused ones far from children's reach.
  • Never tell a child that medicine tastes like candy.
  • Never put cleaning products in containers that were once used for food or drink.
  • Never put rodent poison on the floor.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: April 2014