How do you know if your baby has been poisioned?

The most common poisons relating to babies and children are items commonly found around the household like:

  • Alcohol
  • Cleaners
  • Bleaches
  • Medications

How signs of poisoning present

Most poisons present with one or two typical symptoms. The most common is nausea and vomiting.

Vomiting occurs because the baby understands very quickly that the substance they’ve just eaten or drunk is no good for them, and their brain (in defence mode) says let’s get rid of it… and so they vomit it up.

The other most common thing to identify a poisoning incident is an empty container or packaging. If your child has ingested something poisonous, say they’ve drunk weed killer in the garage, quite often they’ll have the empty bottle, or half empty bottle of weed killer lying next to them spilled on the ground.

Sometimes, children can even bring the container to you, and they see it as a trophy, so for instance toddlers quite often might go into a bedside drawer, they find medication, and they think they are lollies.

They eat all the stuff out of the medicine packaging, and then when they’ve got the empty packaging, they can actually go to you – Mum and Dad, Grandma and Grandad, and hold it up and be quite proud that they’ve just eaten this stuff that’s not that good for them.

But because there’s literally thousands of different types of poisons out there, there’s literally that many different ways that they can present.

They could cause tummy aches, they could cause burns, they could cause swelling, redness, but typically were looking at vomiting, and we also want to find this container that they’ve used.

What we need to do if your child has been poisoned, is make a phone call. And for once, this time, it’s not 000. This time you need to ring the Poisons Information Line.

The Poisons Information Line is a great service that works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Have that empty container or packaging with you. And while you’re talking to the operator, tell them what your child has just had – and however much is missing from the container of the product that you can read on the label.

The operator on 13 11 26 will then give you advice specifically relating to the poison that your child’s ingested. They can also organise an ambulance to come to you while they’re giving you advice.

These people will be able to tell you specifically what you need to do, relating to what the poison does to your child. So that might mean they might get your child to drink water, it might be not to drink water, they’ll give you the advice specifically that you require.

That number again is 13 11 26 for the Poisons Information Line. Save it in your phone under P for Poison so you’ve always got it available. If you want to learn more about poisons and how to treat poisons in the home come along to a Kids First Aid course.