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What If My Child is Poisoned?

NightLight · March 12, 2016

When Your Child Is Poisoned, Don’t Hesitate to Act

If your child swallows a poisonous substance, and they are not breathing, labored in their breathing, having trouble swallowing or are unconscious, call 911. If your child is still breathing/swallowing comfortably and alert, immediately call 1-800-222-1222. That is the national poison control number. They will determine if you need to go to the nearest ER, need to call 911 or can be managed at home or in an urgent care center.

In addition, move the poison away from the child to prevent them from ingesting more, and check their mouth to see if there is any that they can spit out or that you can scoop out carefully. Then follow the instructions provided by the emergency medical team or the poison control center. To lower the risk for poisoning in the first place, keep potential hazards far out of reach of children, preferably in high cupboards or locked cabinets. This applies to the usual suspects like medications, cleaning products (including those colorful detergent pods), bleach, chemicals, and alcohol, but also to cosmetics, perfumes, nail polish remover, gasoline, anti-freeze, de-icer, windshield washer fluid, pesticides, herbicides, and other lawn and garden products.  Some uncommon or little known substances or products that pose a risk to kids are  plants such as oleander, mushrooms, toys manufactured in foreign countries, especially if bought directly by you in that country (bought from street vendors may have unsafe lead levels).

NOTE:  many poisonings happen outside the home.   You may have everything in your home on lockdown and go to holiday party where your child gets into a cabinet or a purse.

Prevention is always the best policy, but should the unthinkable happen, remain calm and call 911 or poison control.

NIGHTLIGHT tip! Poison control will answer questions if your pet eats something they shouldn’t as well!

In case you missed it, on the blog we’ve been discussing some of the questions we get asked most frequently.