What Can Be Poisonous To Your Child?

What Does "Poisonous" Mean?

"One man's medicine is another man's poison."

Many callers to the Poison Center are afraid that if a substance is toxic or poisonous, it is deadly. This is not necessarily true. To Poison Center staff, a substance is toxic or poisonous if it can cause ANY negative symptom, even if only a mild rash.

There are degrees of toxicity, depending on the substance, the amount, the length of time of the exposure and type of the exposure (on the skin versus ingestion). Also, the age, weight, and health status of the patient need to be taken into account. All these factors determine the toxicity and the treatment needed.

For example, the heart medicine taken daily by grandmother is essential for her good health. But the same dose of medicine taken by her 13-month grand-child is dangerously high and is considered toxic. On the other hand, the one to two pellets of rat poison that may well be dangerous to a mouse will not be harmful to a three-year-old child because of the weight difference. Still, a large amount of anything is likely to be unsafe. In case of any exposure, call the Poison Center.

Every poisoning exposure is unique. Reactions may range from mild to moderate to severe. A minor exposure may not produce any symptoms. Even if some symptoms develop, they may not be considered serious enough to require emergency treatment. It is always best to have every poison exposure evaluated by the Poison Center staff. They can provide reassurance and peace of mind. In case of any exposure, no matter how minor it may seem, always call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 .

It will never be a waste of time.


California Poison Control System
1-800-222-1222. . Anytime, Anyplace in California

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Disclaimer: This web site is designed to be informational and educational. Under no circumstance is this web site meant to replace the expert advice of a qualified poison specialist or physician. In the event of a poison emergency, call the nearest poison center immediately by dialing 1-800-222-1222 or contact 9-1-1 emergency services.