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Responding to a Child’s Poisoning

In case of a home poisoning, your fast action could save your child’s life. If you think your child has been poisoned, stay calm and do the following: Woman holding bottle with poison label is on the phone. Poison control number is attached to refrigerator behind her.

  • Reduce the exposure:

    • Take away the hazardous substance.

    • If toxic fumes are involved, move the child away from the room or area.

    • If the poison is on the skin or in the eyes, rinse the area with running water for 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Do not induce vomiting unless instructed by 911 or Poison Control:

    • Be aware that some poisons can cause further damage if vomited.

    • Do not give your child anything to eat or drink until instructed to by a poison control agent or your healthcare provider. 

  • Call 911 or Poison Control right away:

    • Call 911 or emergency services right away if the person has signs of life-threatening problems. These signs include seizures, trouble breathing, or being unconscious.

    • Otherwise, call Poison Control at 800-222-1222. Either service will advise you on how to treat your child, whether or not the poisoning is an emergency.

    • Poisons can act fast, so call right away. Even if you’re not sure what the problem is, don’t wait to see what effects the substance will have. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

  • Have the following information available to give to 911 or Poison Control:

    • Your name, address, and telephone number

    • The name of the product or substance involved in the poisoning. If possible, have the container of the poison with you when you call.

    • How much of the poison was eaten or drunk

    • The age, weight, and general health of the child

    • When the child was exposed to the poison

    • Whether the child has any signs or symptoms

    • What treatment actions have already been taken


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