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Poisoning

Introduction

Poisoning in children is a major cause of illness. 90% of poisoning cases occur at home. Toddlers are at higher risk for poisoning as their natural exploring and curiosity behaviour may result in ingestion.

Common sources of poisons in the household :

  • Kerosene and hydrocarbon (petrol)
  • Prescribed medicine
  • Insecticides, herbicides and pesticides
  • Detergents, polishes and caustics

What to do if your child has had contact with poisons?

  • Remove poisons from eyes, skin and mouth.
  • Always keep National Poison Centre telephone number (04-6570099) in a readily accessible place e.g. on fridge door.

Eyes

  • Gently wash eyes with plenty of tap water for at least 5 minutes with the eyelids held open.
  • Do not allow your child to rub the affected eye(s) .

Skin

  • Wash the poison off the skin with large volumes of water.
  • Remove contaminated clothing.

Mouth

  • Remove all tablets or powder from the child’s mouth.
  • Examine for any burns, cuts or irritation.

If exposed to gases or fumes :

  • Get child to fresh air.
  • Loosen all clothing.
  • If not breathing, clear the throat and start mouth-to- mouth respiration (CPR). Continue until help arrives.
  • If poison was ingested, go to the nearest hospital.
  • Do not induce vomiting in kerosene/ strong acid / alkali poisoning, and if patient is unconscious or having a fit.
  • Keep the child in a sideway position and clear all secretions from the mouth.
  • Take the child to the hospital with a sample of the poison.

Prevention

  • Supervise your children.
  • Keep medication / alcohol out of sight and out of reach of children.
  • Keep medication in child-resistant and labelled containers.
  • Give the right dose of medication.
  • Unused medication should be disposed off, thrown down the sink, buried or burnt.
  • Handle food with care – always wash hands before handling food, cook raw meats and eggs and rinse fruits and vegetables.
  • Educate your children regarding safety basics.
  • Avoid storing poisons in used ‘carbonated drinks’ bottles as children may mistake it for drinks.

Kumpulan Sokongan

National Poison Center
University Sains Malaysia
11800 Pulau Pinang
Tel : 04-6570099
Fax : 04-6568417
E-mail : prnnet@prn.usm.my

Last reviewed : 26 April 2012
Content Writer : Dr. Norraliza Md Zain
Reviewer : Dr. Sharifah Ainon bt. Ismail Mokhtar