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What should I do if my child has swallowed poison?


Do not panic! Remain calm and call a poison centre as soon as possible

In most cases, children will require little or no treatment following an exposure to something poisonous.

 
If the child is awake
  • Remain calm
  • Protect yourself from poisoning
  • Call the Toxicology Centre on 23640402.
  • Do not make child vomit (vomiting is not effective at removing a swallowed substance. Vomit can sometimes be inhaled into the lungs, causing lung injury.
  • Bring the medicine or chemical container to phone if possible
  • A small amount of water can be given if the substance is corrosive or irritating (household cleaners). Do not give any fluids if a child has ingested too much medicine.
 

If the child is sleepy or unconscious:

  • Check their pulse, ensure they are breathing
  • Place in recovery position
  • Ring an ambulance
 

If the child is not breathing or does not have a pulse

  • Call an ambulance
  • Apply CPR
 
Following eye exposures:
  • Flush eye with room-temperature water for at least 15 minutes (do not use an eye bath or eye drops)
  • Get eye examination performed at Medical Center or Hospital.
 
What happens at the hospital?

Children who need assessment at the hospital may require:

  • Medical observation for a set time period
  • Activated charcoal. This is sometimes given as a slurry to adsorb some of the poison from the stomach. It may not be effective in some cases.
  • Monitoring of heart, lungs, breathing, fluids and salts depending on what they were poisoned by.

Sometimes more treatment might be needed, such as specific antidotes


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