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First Aid: Poisoning

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