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Poisonings. Poisonings. Wendy J. Pomerantz, M.D., M.S. Definition. Definition. Anything someone eats, drinks, breaths in, or gets in their eyes or on their skin that can cause illness or death Can be solids, liquids, gases, or aerosols. Examples of Poisons.

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Wendy J. Pomerantz, M.D., M.S.



  • Anything someone eats, drinks,
  • breaths in, or gets in their eyes or on
  • their skin that can cause illness or
  • death
  • Can be solids, liquids, gases, or
  • aerosols
examples of poisons
Examples of Poisons

Examples of Poisons

Household Products/Chemicals

Hair relaxer

Hair removal products


Liquid drain openers

Toilet bowl cleaners

Oven cleaners

Lamp oil



Furniture polish

Windshield washer fluid





Paint thinner

examples of poisons cont d
Examples of Poisons Cont’d

Examples of Poisons Cont.


Prescription pharmaceuticals



Gases and Fumes

Carbon monoxide



  • Third leading cause of unintentional
  • injury deaths and suicide deaths in
  • the U.S.
  • Report by poison control centers in
  • 2000:

- 2.2 million poison exposures

      • - 500,000 people treated in healthcare
      • facilities
      • - 20,230 deaths
  • 7.3 deaths/100,000 population
  • 184.0 nonfatal poisonings/100,000 pop.
types of poisonings
Types of Poisonings

Types of Poisonings

  • Acute
    • Unintentional ingestions by toddlers
    • Suicide attempt by adolescents
  • Chronic
    • Lead poisoning in children in old houses
    • Daily pesticide exposure in children living on farms
poisoning facts in children
Poisoning Facts in Children

Poisoning Facts in Children

  • A child is poisoned every 30 minutes in the U.S.
  • 60% of all poisonings in kids less than 6 years old
  • In 2000:
    • over 1.1 million unintentional poisonings in kids less than 5 years old
    • 26 kids less 12 years old died; 20 less than 6 years old
  • In children less than 5 years old, more than 50% of all poisonings came from non-pharmaceutical products
  • Immediately calling a poison control center may decrease the likelihood of severe poisoning
risk factors for poisoning
Risk Factors for Poisoning

Risk Factors for Poisoning

  • Unsupervised home setting
  • African American race
  • Males less than 5 years old
  • Lower level of education
  • Substance abuse
  • Depressed adolescents
  • Adolescent females


  • Total annual cost more than $7.6 billion
  • among children less than 14 years old.
  • Children 4 years old and younger account
  • for $5.1 billion
  • Medical expenses average $925 per case
  • Average cost of inpatient treatment is
  • $8,700
  • Between 1996 and 1998, there were
  • 1,252,904 years of potential life lost in
  • the U.S. from poisoning deaths
poisonings are preventable
Poisonings are Preventable

Poisonings Are Preventable

poison prevention tips
Poison Prevention Tips

Poison Prevention Tips

  • Store all medications, including over-the-counter medications:
    • Out of sight and reach of children
    • In child-resistant bottles
    • In locked cabinets
  • Be sure that caps of medications and household products are always on tight
  • Do not remove child-resistant caps
  • Never refer to medications or vitamins as “candy”
  • Teach children about poisonous substances
poison prevention tips cont d
Poison Prevention Tips Cont’d

Poison Prevention Tips Cont.

  • Keep purses and other bags with medications out of reach of children; remind visitors to do the same
  • Do not take medications or give medications to others in front of children
  • Store all household products and chemicals out of reach of children
  • Be sure to return household products and chemicals to a safe place immediately after use
poison prevention tips cont d13
Poison Prevention Tips Cont’d

Poison Prevention Tips Cont.

  • Store all household products in their original, labeled containers; do not transfer to other containers such as soda cans, milk cartons, or water jugs
  • Throw away old medications and other potential poisons that are not used anymore
  • Use cabinet latches to prevent children from getting to household products and medications
  • Never leave a child alone with medications or household products
poison prevention tips cont d14
Poison Prevention Tips Cont’d

Poison Prevention Tips Cont.

  • Know which plants in your home are toxic; be sure to keep toxic plants out of reach of children
  • Make sure there is no peeling or chipped paint in areas where children eat, sleep or play
  • Install functioning smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas
  • Teach grandparents, other relatives and friends to take precautions before children visit their homes
  • Keep poison control center number near all telephones
national toll free number
National Toll-Free Number

National Toll-Free Number for Poison Control Centers


if a poisoning occurs
If a Poisoning Occurs

If a Poisoning Occurs

  • Stay calm.
  • If the poison is swallowed: do not give the child anything to eat or drink; do not make the person throw up or give Syrup of Ipecac unless directed by the poison center or a doctor and immediately contact the poison control center
  • If the poison is inhaled, move the child to fresh air and immediately contact the poison control center
  • If the poison is on the skin, remove contaminated clothing and rinse the skin with water for 10 minutes, then contact the poison control center
  • If the poison is in the eye, flush the eye with water for 15 minutes, then contact the poison control center
if a poisoning occurs cont d
If a Poisoning Occurs Cont’d

If a Poisoning Occurs Cont.

  • Contact the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 and have the following information available:
    • Time the poisoning occurred
    • Product that the child was exposed to; have the container nearby
    • How much the child ingested
    • Any treatment given
    • Child’s age, weight, and condition
    • Any preexisting medical problems
    • Your name and telephone number
  • Follow instructions given by the poison center.
for further information
For Further Information

For Further Information


  • American Association of Poison Control Centers at http://www.aapcc.org/
  • Your local poison control center
  • Poison Prevention Week Council at http://www.poisonprevention.org/