Common Poisons And Treatments Children

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, over half (51 percent) of the more than two million reported poisonings each year in the United States are in children under the age of six. Several common poisons are most associated with childhood poisonings, and they can cause a great deal of harm to your child.

Ten Common Poisons and Child Ingestion

Children are more vulnerable to certain types of common poison because they:

  • Crawl and play on the ground
  • Don’t have the maturity to differentiate between good and bad
  • Have weaker immune systems
  • Touch everything.

Although many types of household poison can affect children, the top ten common poisons are:

  • Art, craft and office supplies
  • Coins and thermometers
  • Cosmetics and personal care products
  • Diaper care, acne preparations and antiseptics
  • Gastrointestinal medications
  • Household cleaners
  • Pain medications and fever reducers
  • Pesticides
  • Plants
  • Vitamins.

Common Poison Prevention

In order to keep your children safe, you need to know how to prevent poisoning. You can take many steps to poison-proof your child’s environment, including:

  • Be sure any toys your children play with are lead-free.
  • Check dates and ingredients for all foods and drinks before giving them to your children.
  • Educate your children about what they can and cannot play with.
  • Never put household products or chemicals in cups or food containers.
  • Never tell children that medicine tastes like candy.
  • Place medications, household cleaners and other household poisons where children can’t reach them.
  • Put child-proof caps on all medications and potentially harmful substances.
  • Use child-proof latches to lock all drawers and cabinets containing possible poisons.

Common Poison Treatments

Treatment for poisoning will vary depending on the type of common poison to which your child has been exposed. There are, however, basic home treatment steps that can help ease the symptoms associated with the ten most common poisons and child ingestion. Ways to help treat your child if he is exposed to common poisons include:

  • Inhaled Poison: Take the child outside to get fresh air right away. If the child is not breathing try to give him CPR and call 911 immediately.
  • Poison in the eyes: Open the child’s eyelid and pour room temperature water into the inner corner of the eye. Flush for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Poison on the skin: Remove contaminated clothing and rinse the child’s skin in lukewarm water for about 15 minutes.
  • Swallowed poison: Make the child spit out any of the remaining substance. Do not induce vomiting.

If symptoms are severe, or if the child collapses or stops breathing, call 911 to receive medical help right away. Poison centers — located throughout the country — are staffed with professional health care providers 24 hours a day to give you the advice and guidance you need to ensure your child’s safety. To reach the Poison Control Center near you call 1-800-222-1222.


American Academy of Pediatrics. (n.d.). Poison prevention and treatment tips. Retrieved May 16, 2010, from

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. (n.d.). Poison prevention tips. Retrieved May 16, 2010, from

National Capital Poison Center. (n.d.). The most common poisons for children and adults. Retrieved May 16, 2010, from