Most kids who get poisoned ate or drank household cleaning products or medicines, often in their own home. So it's good for babysitters to know how poisonings happen and what to do.
In many cases, a poison emergency can be handled by following advice from the Poison Control Center hotline (1-800-222-1222). Before calling the hotline, get the bottle or box of whatever the child has swallowed. If you do not have the box or bottle, tell the hotline or emergency medical personnel — as best you can — exactly what the child has swallowed.
Possible signs that a child drank or ate something poisonous:
- sudden change in behavior
- unusual smell
- visible evidence of medicine or cleaning products on the child's lips or clothes, or on the floor
- excessive drooling
If a child unexpectedly gets very sleepy or it's hard to wake the child up (or keep the child awake), call 911 immediately.
Here are some ways you can help prevent poisonings:
- Ask parents to lock away all cleaning products, alcohol, batteries, medicine, insect sprays, and any other dangerous substances.
- Always supervise children while you're caring for them.
- If you carry any medicine, keep it out of the kids' reach.
- If you give a child medicine, be sure you close the cap securely afterward so youngsters can't open it.
Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: May 2013