McKnight Pediatrics


Poisonings in Toddlers and Children

The most common substances involved in poisonings in children 5 years of age and younger are cosmetics and personal care items, pain medications, household cleaning products (especially those packaged in colorful containers or those that look like candy or toy containers), foreign bodies (especially magnets and small batteries) and topical preparations.

The ingestion of OTC cold medications has decreased since the CDC and AAP have warned against using these medications in young children. Some of the more toxic items found in many homes are iron supplements and other OTC medications, antidepressants, cardiovascular medications like Digitalis, Aspirin, alcohols of all types, pesticides, antifreeze and drain cleaners.

Some common symptoms of poisoning or foreign body ingestion include but are not limited to vomiting, disorientation, persistent cough, difficult breathing, altered consciousness, dizziness, diarrhea and erratic behavior. If your child experiences any of these behaviors, you should call the Poison Control Center immediately (800-222-1222).

Tips to Avoid Poisoning and Foreign Body Ingestions:

-Keep cosmetics and personal care items stored in high cabinets out of the sight and reach of young children
-Keep all medications stored out of the reach and sight of young children and preferably in containers with child resistant tops
-Dispose of all outdated medications and those you are no longer using
-Use household cleaners that are plant based and free of chemicals. Consider making cleansers from non-toxic ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. You can add essential oils for a pleasant smell but be careful as essential oils can be very toxic if ingested
-Dispose of any unused drain cleaners
-Do not store antifreeze or pesticides in places accessible to children
-Monitor children using toys that contain buttons, magnets or batteries and adhere to the age recommendations on toys