Poisoning in Children

Kids sometimes swallow items that can hurt them. You may or may not know what they swallowed. Sometimes the effects of poisons take a while to show up. Your child may need to stay in the hospital for care. Your doctor will decide what care is needed.

Things in the house that can be poisonous are:

  • Medicine.

  • Perfume.

  • Cleaners.

  • Alcohol.

  • Plants.

  • Batteries.

  • Paint and paint thinner.

  • Antifreeze.


Things to do to stop poisoning from happening:

  • Flush medicine down the toilet when you get rid of it. Do not throw it in the trash.

  • Keep medicines out of reach. Lock medicine up if possible.

  • Keep all medicines in the bottles they came in. Many come in child-safe packaging.

  • Keep chemicals in locked cabinets.

  • Do not let children take their own medicine(s). Give your child medicine. Watch them take it.

  • If family or friends take medicines while at your home, make sure that children cannot get to them.

  • Keep your poison control center phone number by your phone. If you do not have a local number, in the U.S. you can call 1-800-222-1222.


  • Your child has breathing trouble. Call for emergency help right away (911 in U.S.)

  • Your child has a temperature by mouth above 102° F (38.9° C) or higher.

  • Your baby is older than 3 months with a rectal temperature of 102° F (38.9° C) or higher.

  • Your baby is 3 months old or younger with a rectal temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher.

  • Your child has confusion or is more sleepy than normal.

  • Your child develops odd behavior.

  • Your child starts to have problems walking.

  • Your child develops a severe cough.

  • Your child has lots of mucus coming from the mouth.

  • Your child has a belly ache, is constantly throwing up, or has watery poop (diarrhea).

  • Your child has weakness, a fever, or is dry (dehydrated).


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your child's condition.

  • Will get help right away if your child is not doing well or gets worse.