Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
 

Poisoning

Poisoning

Sometimes, accidental poisonings can be treated in the home following the direction of a poison control center or your child's physician. At other times, emergency medical care is necessary.

Swallowed poison

If you find your child with an open or empty container of a toxic substance, your child may have been poisoned. Stay calm, act quickly, and follow these guidelines:

If your child has any of the following symptoms, call 911 right away.

Take or send the poison container with your child to help the physician determine what was swallowed. If your child does not have these symptoms, call your local poison control center or your child's physician. They will need the following information in order to help you:

Poison on the skin

If your child spills a chemical on his/her body, remove any contaminated clothes and rinse the skin well with lukewarm - not hot water. If the area shows signs of being burned or irritated, continue rinsing for at least 15 minutes, no matter how much your child may protest. Then, call the poison center for further instructions. Do not use ointments, butter, or grease on the area.

Poison in the eye(s)

Flush your child's eye by holding the eyelid open and pouring a small, steady stream of lukewarm water - not hot - into the inner corner near the nose. Allow the water to run across the eye to the outside corner to flush the area well. You may need help from another adult to hold your child while you rinse the eye; or wrap your child tightly in a towel and hold your child under one arm. Continue flushing the eye for 15 minutes, and call the poison center for further instructions. Do not use an eyecup, eye drops, or ointment unless the poison center instructs you to do so.

Poisonous fumes or gases

In the home, poisonous fumes can be emitted from the following sources:

If your child breathes in fumes or gases, get him/her into fresh air right away.

Child-resistant lids are required on certain common household products:

In 2002, the Consumer Product Safety Commission voted to require safety caps on a variety of commonly used household products. The products, all oily hydrocarbon products, are thin and slippery and can easily suffocate children if the substances are drawn into their lungs when drinking them. The products can cause chemical pneumonia, by coating the inside of the lungs. Products that are required to have a safety lid include:

Oil products that are thicker and more "syrupy" are not a problem, since they are not easily inhaled into the lungs.

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Pediatrics

 

Top of Page return to top of page