Poisoning in Children: A Detailed Guide

Poisoning in children is a serious problem that can arise from various sources, such as household chemicals, medications, plants, and food. Here is a detailed overview of the most common causes, symptoms, and first aid measures for poisoning in children.

Common Causes of Poisoning

  • Household Chemicals
    • Cleaning agents (bleaches, detergents)
    • Pesticides
    • Paints and solvents
  • Medications
    • Prescription medications
    • Over-the-counter medications (analgesics, vitamins)
    • Iron supplements
  • Plants
    • Certain indoor and outdoor plants (e.g., oleander, philodendron)
  • Food and Drink
    • Contaminated food
    • Alcohol
    • Certain berries and mushrooms
  • Cosmetics and Personal Care Products
    • Perfumes
    • Mouthwash
    • Nail polish remover (acetone)

Symptoms of Poisoning

Symptoms of poisoning can vary significantly depending on the type and amount of substance ingested. Common symptoms include:

  • Gastrointestinal Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain
  • Respiratory Symptoms: Breathing difficulties, cough, wheezing
  • Neurological Symptoms: Dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, seizures
  • Dermatological Symptoms: Rashes, burns, skin redness
  • Cardiovascular Symptoms: Irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure

First Aid Measures for Poisoning

  1. Identify the Substance: If possible, try to identify what the child has ingested, inhaled, or come into contact with.
  2. Remove the Child from the Source: Ensure the child is away from the source of the poison to prevent further exposure.
  3. Do Not Induce Vomiting: Unless advised by a medical professional, do not induce vomiting as it can cause additional harm.
  4. Check Breathing and Consciousness: Ensure the child is breathing and conscious. If unconscious or not breathing, call emergency services immediately and start CPR if necessary.
  5. Call the Poison Control Center or Emergency Services: In Croatia, you can contact the Poison Control Center at 01/2348-342 or call emergency services at 112 for immediate assistance.
  6. Follow Instructions: Follow the instructions given by the poison control center or emergency services. They may advise giving the child water or milk or taking them to the hospital immediately.
  7. Bring the Substance to the Hospital: If possible, bring the container or packaging of the ingested substance to the hospital for identification.

Prevention Tips

  • Keep Hazardous Substances Out of Reach: Store chemicals, medications, and other potentially dangerous substances out of children’s reach, preferably in locked cabinets.
  • Use Child-Resistant Packaging: Ensure all medications and hazardous products are in child-resistant packaging.
  • Clearly Label Everything: Ensure all containers are clearly labeled and do not store hazardous substances in food or drink containers.
  • Educate Children: Teach children about the dangers of certain substances and the importance of not putting unknown objects in their mouths.
  • Proper Disposal: Dispose of expired or unused medications and chemicals properly to prevent accidental poisoning.

Emergency Contact Numbers in Croatia

  • Poison Control Center: 01/2348-342
  • Emergency Services: 112

By following these guidelines and maintaining vigilant supervision, you can help prevent poisoning incidents and ensure the safety of children in your care.


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