Accidental Poisoning in Children

  • Reference Number: HEY-986/2017
  • Departments: Emergency Department, Paediatrics


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:

  1. Lock all the medicines in an out-of-reach cupboard.
  2. Out-of-date medicines or medicines you no longer need should be returned to a local pharmacy
  3. Get rid of toxic plants.
  4. 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

More information

For more information about safety in the home, see

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about your child. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you need information about your child’s health and well-being and about your child’s care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.