Accidental Poisoning in Children

  • Reference Number: HEY-937-2017
  • Departments: Emergency Department

This leaflet has been produced to give you general information about your child’s condition.  Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet.  It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and your doctor, but may act as a starting point for discussion.  If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team caring for you.


  • Never refer to medicines as ‘sweets’, even when encouraging children to take them.
  • Take your own medication out of sight of your children to prevent imitation.
  • Only buy medicines that come in child-resistant containers.
  • Keep ashtrays and waste baskets empty.

Things to do at home:

Use this leaflet as a checklist of things to do when you get home:

  • Lock all the medicines in an out-of-reach cupboard.
  • Return your out-of-date medicines or medicines you no longer need to the chemist/pharmacy.
  • Get rid of toxic plants.
  • Keep the following locked away and/or out of reach of children:
  • Alcohol
  • Perfume, cosmetics
  • Detergent, bleach
  • Turpentine, paints
  • Weed killers
  • Nicotine liquid

If you suspect your child has swallowed something potentially dangerous:

  • Call 999 if they are having trouble breathing, are making strange sounds, have changed colour or have become unconscious.
  • If there are no symptoms but you suspect your child has swallowed something potentially dangerous call 111.

For more information about safety in the home, see 

Information about you:

We collect and use your information to provide you with care and treatment.  As part of your care, your information will be shared between members of the healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet.  Your information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service and to help with research.  Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care.  All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it.  If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.

Under the Data Protection Act (1998) we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you.  For further information visit

This leaflet was produced by the Emergency Department, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust and will be reviewed in September 2020.