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Poison Ingestion and Overdose

Symptoms of poison ingestion and how to keep your toddler safe from toxic substances

From medications to cosmetics to cleaning supplies, toxic substances can be found throughout the average home. The most important thing to remember is keep these items completely out of the reach of your child.

Here are a few additional recommendations:

  • Keep all medications, cosmetics and cleaning supplies on a high shelf or in a locked cabinet. Always store medications or household products in original containers.
  • Ask your pediatrician for suggestions of products to keep on hand for use in case of accidental ingestion, such as Syrup of Ipecac. Never give your child anything to treat poison indigestion until you have checked with either your doctor or local poison control center.
  • Check in your phone book for your local poison control center's phone number. Keep this information in a convenient place, such as on the side of your refrigerator or near the phone, for use in an emergency situation. Make sure your babysitter also has access to this information.

Common symptoms of poisoning include:

  • Lethargy
  • Agitation
  • Behavior that is different from child's normal behavior
  • Pulse changes
  • Rapid or difficult breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Convulsions
  • Sweating or drooling

If you know or suspect your child has ingested a questionable substance (common signs include an open container or an odor on your child's breath), call your local poison control center or hospital emergency room immediately, even if your child has no symptoms. Do not try to treat a poisoning on your own, even if it's by following directions on a product label. Also, do not give your child anything by mouth without explicit medical advice.

Poison ingestion can be serious, but with the right preventative measures (and a prompt response if an incident does occur), you can help keep your baby healthy and happy.

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