Poisons, Children and First Aid
Poisoning occurs when a child comes in contact with a toxic substance. Contact
can mean swallowing, inhaling, touching, or injecting a toxic substance.
What are the causes and risks of the injury?
Most of the poisonings reported to poison control centers in the US each year
involve children and adolescents. Many involve children less than 6 years of
Younger children are at greater risk of poisoning. Children are curious and
have poor impulse control. Poisoning in older children and adolescents is more
likely to be due to impulsive, risk-taking behavior, such as alcohol poisoning
or glue sniffing, or suicide attempts.
Poisons are in many household items. Items children can be poisoned by include:
prescription or over-the counter medications
insecticides and pesticides around
personal care products
household cleaning products
vitamin and mineral supplements
Certain situations are more risky for children, especially toddlers. These are
situations in which the caretaker may not be paying usual attention to the
child. This is more likely to happen:
during holidays when a home has lots of visitors
when older people, who are not used to being around toddlers and who have
medicine bottles with them, visit
when caretakers have been drinking
alcohol or taking drugs