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First Aid: Accidental Poisoning in Children

First Aid: Accidental Poisoning in Children

Most poisoning incidents for children happen at home. Children are naturally curious and may accidentally swallow or inhale harmful substances and objects they may find. In this article, learn the crucial steps of first aid poisoning treatment.

What to do in Cases of Accidental Poisoning

If you suspect your child has been poisoned, it is important to immediately seek medical help. Poisoning is a critical medical emergency and quick and deliberate action is needed.

It is also important to remember not to give your child syrup of ipecac if you suspect your child is poisoned. There is no good evidence that supports that ingesting ipecac can help with poisoning.

How to Perform First Aid for Poisoning

Here are the steps on how to apply first aid for poisoning:

Immediately call poison control

If you suspect that your child has been accidentally poisoned, immediately call your local poison control. If you do not know their numbers or are far away from a phone, it is best to rush to a hospital directly. As you wait for the ambulance or head to the hospital, you can apply first aid poisoning treatment.

Try to bring the poisonous material with you when you go to the hospital. Providing more information about the poison can help professionals better assess and treat your child.

In the Philippines, the center for poisoning is the National Posion Management and Control Center.

  • Hotline: PLDT: 025241078
  • SUN: 09228961541
  • GLOBE: 09667189904

First aid for poisoning depends on the type of poison and how it may have entered your child’s body. After calling poison control, here are steps to take for various instances.

Immediately perform CPR if your child has stopped showing signs of life, like ceasing to breathe, cough, or move.

Case: Swallows poison

  • Take the item away from the child.
  • Have your child immediately spit out any remaining substances that are in their mouth.
  • If the child is vomiting, tilt their head to the side to prevent choking.

Again, you should not make your child vomit or make them take syrup of ipecac to induce vomiting.

Case: Swallows a battery

If your child has swallowed a battery or a battery is lodged in their nose, ears, or throat, you must rush to the hospital. Your child may experience serious tissue damage in as little as two hours.

Case: Skin poisoning

Remove any clothing on your child and rinse the affected area with warm water for at least 15 minutes.

Case: Eye poisoning

Hold your child’s eyelid open and pour a steady stream of water for at least 15 minutes.

Case: Inhaled poisonous fumes

Bring your child away from the fumes and into fresh air as fast as possible.

Symptoms of Poisoning

Sometimes, your child may have swallowed or inhaled harmful substances without you knowing. If you suspect that your child might be poisoned, look out for these symptoms:

  • Sore throat
  • Trouble breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain without fever
  • Unusual drooling
  • Your child’s breath has a strange odor
  • Your child’s clothes have unusual stains
  • Sudden change in your child’s behavior
  • Your child has pill pieces on their lips or clothes
  • Heavy drooling

What Are the Common Sources of Poisoning for Children?

Most poisoning cases happen at home when your child plays with substances that can be harmful to them. Items that are left unattended can also be a cause for poisoning. Here are some common sources in your home that can lead to poisoning:

  • Items are left unattended in easily accessed places (tables, bags, benches)
  • Plants or mushrooms in the home garden
  • Bugs in the home garden
  • Rodent poisons
  • Bug spray
  • Disinfectants or any cleaning products
  • Medicines
  • Other household products such as oils, pesticides, car or gardening products

When Should I Call my Doctor

Immediately seek medical attention and call poison control if your child has been poisoned. You should not wait for any of the symptoms of poisoning to appear before attempting to seek medical help. If it is possible, you should also try to bring or procure a sample of the substance swallowed or inhaled to the hospital along with you.

Home Safety Rules For Preschoolers


When it comes to poisoning, prevention is always better than treatment. Your child’s natural curiosity can lead to mishaps and a trip to the hospital. Since most poison accidents occur at home, consider ways on how to effectively prevent your child from getting poisoned at home.

Here are some tips

  • Keep medicines in locked cabinets
  • Keep cleaning products in locked cabinets or far away from the reach of children
  • Immediately dispose of used batteries and keep unused ones in locked cabinets or far away from the reach of children
  • Never encourage a child to taste medicine (do not refer to your medication as “candy”)
  • Never keep cleaning products or any other harmful substances in cabinets that were once or is currently used for food and drink
  • Do not put rodent poison on the floor
  • Avoid taking medicine in front of your children
  • Be mindful that your child may climb and reach for potentially dangerous objects
  • Always put away cleaning materials after use

Key Takeaways

Your kids are curious creatures and will often accidentally put things in their mouths. It is hard to keep an eye on them at all times so it is best to exercise caution. Remember to keep poisonous substances and pills far from their reach, and learn basic first aid poisoning treatment for those emergencies.

Learn other First Aid here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Poison Prevention & Treatment Tips, https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/all-around/Pages/Poison-Prevention.aspx, Accessed April 30, 2020

Poisoning & Child Safety, https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/poisoning-and-child-safety, Accessed April 30, 2020

First Aid: Poisoning, https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/poisoning-sheet.html?ref=search, Accessed April 30, 2020

First Aid Poisonings in a Child, https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=first-aid-for-poisonings-90-P02815, Accessed April 30, 2020

Poisoning: First Aid, https://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-poisoning/basics/art-20056657, Accessed April 30, 2020

Poisoning First Aid: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007579.htm, Accessed April 30, 2020

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Written by Sky Abundo Updated May 18
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel