Because small children like to put things in their mouths, about 80% of poisonings occur in children ages 1 to 4. Always believe a child who says that something poisonous has been swallowed, no matter how unappetizing the substance may seem. It is better to take action, even if it turns out to be a false alarm.
If you believe something poisonous has been swallowed, call your local poison control center or the National Poison Control Hotline (1-800-222-1222) immediately for advice. Have the poison container or plant specimen with you when you make the call. Do not use syrup of ipecac. It is no longer used to treat poisonings. Some swallowed poisons will cause more damage if you try to cause vomiting.
If you have syrup of ipecac in your home, call your pharmacist for instructions on how to dispose of it and throw away the container. Do not store anything else in the container.
Develop prevention habits to help prevent poisonings in your home.
Last Revised: July 11, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD
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