Once our children become more aware and mobile they are at the risk of consuming poison in the household. Children between the ages of one and four are at the highest risk and the most common items around the household that they are exposed to are cosmetics, personal care items and pain relief. Other things around the house to consider are products such as cleaning agents, general medications, gardening products and chemicals in the garage and around the home. Unintentional poisoning admits many children into emergency and poison information line receive over 140,000 calls per year!

Whenever we discuss any potential risks of harm we always address ways of prevention, reducing risk and the recommended First Aid.

There are multiple ways of preventing unintentional poisoning for your child and here are some suggestions you can implement in your household.

  • Ensuring all cupboards and storage of chemical are childproof by using door latches and locks.
  • Storing chemicals out of reach, and therefore not storing items such as dishwashing liquid under the sink or washing powder within reach
  • Storing medications safety in a child-proof cupboard
  • Safe administration of medication; meaning that medication is out of reach, administration of medication is accurate and given insufficient lighting to ensure measurements are accurate and recording times of administration to reduce the risk overdosing.
  • Never say medication taste like lollies or refer them to food
  • Taking your regular medications out of sight and therefore not encouraging the child to mimic elders
  • Keep chemicals in original containers and do decanter into other unlabelled bottles.
  • Be aware of other chemicals and medications being bought in the house (handbags on the floor from visitors).
  • Be knowledgeable of the plants outside and potential for poisoning and remove if necessary
  • Removing old medications
  • Being aware of alcohol within the house and making sure children do not have easy access

Although we aim to prevent unintentional poisoning these circumstances may arise and if they do it is important to follow some basic first aid advice.

The first thing to do if you have found your child has ingested a potential poison is to call the poisons hotline.



The poisons information hotline is an anonymous phone call and they are very knowledgeable about what to do in regards to the consumption or exposure of specific poisons and chemicals. They will advise you if you are requiring to call 000, to go to emergency, see your local GP or you can monitor the situation at home.

We do not recommend following common myths such as “drinking milk” or “inducing vomiting”. Each and every chemical and poison requires a different approach and the induction of vomiting can be very harmful due to the vapours that are released in the process.

If you feel your child is deteriorating or you are still concerned, please always call 000.


Want to learn more?

Organise a baby and child first aid session with your local Parentmedic Ambassador. Visit to find out more.


About the author of this article:

Nataly Tormey is the founder of The Parentmedic movement, a first-aid educator for over a decade and a registered nurse. The Parentmedic Movement is operating in Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom.


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Accidental Poisoning in Children

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