Health Information For Parents

First Aid: Poisoning


First Aid

Nearly 90% of childhood poisonings happen in the home and most can be treated at home with advice from the poison control center. However, 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 fragments on the lips or clothes
  • excessive drooling
  • vomiting
  • a confused mental state
  • listlessness

What to Do

  • If you suspect 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).

Seek Emergency Medical Care or Call 911


  • your child has taken a poison and has a change in mental state. It’s important to remember to bring the specific bottle or container of the substance that your child ingested. Do not 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 watches) safely and 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.

Medical Review

  • Last Reviewed: April 14th, 2014
  • Reviewed By: Steven Dowshen, MD



  • National Inhalant Prevention Coalition

    This website informs parents about inhalant use and what they can do if they suspect their teens are abusing inhalants.

  • American Red Cross

    The American Red Cross helps prepare communities for emergencies and works to keep people safe every day. The website has information on first aid, safety, and more.

  • Poison Control Centers

    Use this toll-free number to reach any of the United States’ 65 local poison control centers – (800) 222-1222 – or visit the website to find the poison control center nearest you.

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

    The EPA is the government agency that works to protect human health and safeguard the natural environment.

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