Every day in the U.S., more than 300 children are rushed to an emergency room as a result of poisoning. On average, accidental poisoning claims the lives of more than 700 children every year. Many are poisoned by ordinary household cleaners and medicines, which is why it is important for parents and caretakers to know what to do in case a child ingests a potentially poisonous substance.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that if a child is unconscious, having trouble breathing or having seizures, parents need to call 911 immediately. If you suspect your child has come into contact with poison or swallowed a battery and has no symptoms, call the poison control center at 800-222-1222. Be sure to have the following information available when you make the call:

  • Child’s age and weight
  • Container or bottle of the poison if available
  • Time of the poison exposure
  • Address where the poisoning occurred

According to the AAP, different types of poisoning require immediate poison treatment as follows:

Swallowed poison – if possible, remove the item from the child and have the child spit out any remaining substance. Do not induce vomiting or use syrup of ipecac.

Skin poison – remove the clothing and rinse the skin with warm water for at least 15 minutes.

Eye poison – hold the child’s eyelid open and flush the inner corner of the eye with a steady stream of room temperature water for 15 minutes.

Poison fumes – get the child into fresh air immediately. If the child has stopped breathing, start CPR immediately and don’t stop until the child starts breathing again or until medical help arrives.

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