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First Aid: Poisoning

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 right away.

First Aid

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Poisoning?

  • drowsiness
  • sudden change in behavior
  • unusual odor
  • pill pieces on the lips or clothes
  • heavy drooling
  • vomiting
  • confusion

What to Do

If your child might have taken a poison and is alert, acting normally, and can breathe well: Get help from the poison control center right away at 1-800-222-1222 or online at Poison Control.

If your child might have taken a poison and is not acting normally, passes out, has a seizure, or has trouble breathing: Call 911 or get emergency medical care right away. Don’t try to make your child vomit or give ipecac. Take the bottle or container of the pills or liquid that your child took to the ER or hospital.

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: Melanie L. Pitone, MD
Date reviewed: July 2022