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First Aid: Poisoning

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD

First Aid

Most childhood poisonings happen in the home. They usually can be treated at home with advice from the poison control center. But 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 pieces on the lips or clothes
  • heavy drooling
  • vomiting
  • confusion

What to Do

  • If you think 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).

Get Emergency Medical Care or Call 911 if:

  • Your child has taken a poison and isn't acting normally. It's important to bring the bottle or container of the pills or liquid that your child took. Don't 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 remote controls) safely. 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: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: July 2018