Skip to main content

We use cookies to help us improve your experience and to provide services like web chat. We also use cookies to measure the effectiveness of public health campaigns and understand how people use the website.

To find out more about cookies and how we use them, please see our privacy policy.

What to do if your child is exposed to poison

 Call the Poisons Information Line on 01 809 2166 if you think your child has been poisoned.

The service is available from 8am to 10pm every day. Outside of these hours, contact your GP or hospital. In an emergency, call 999 or 112.

Poisoning is when someone is exposed to a substance which can harm their health or end their life.

Poisons can be:

  • swallowed
  • inhaled
  • injected
  • absorbed through the skin or eyes

If your child has eaten poison

Take the poison away. Make them spit it out. Run your fingers around their mouth. Flick out any remaining pieces.

Do not make your child vomit.

Ring the Poisons Information Line on 01 809 2166 (8am to 10pm, 7 days a week) immediately. Outside of these hours, contact your GP or hospital. In an emergency, call 999 or 112.

Do not give your child anything to eat or drink unless healthcare staff tell you to do so. This includes salt water.

Keep the container, if there is one. Your GP will need to see it.

If a poison has splashed into their eyes

Wash your child's eyes out out immediately. Continue washing for at least 15 minutes. Do not put anything onto the eye other than water.

Ring the Poisons Information Line on 01 809 2166 (8am to 10pm, 7 days a week) immediately. Outside of these hours, contact your GP or hospital. In an emergency, call 999 or 112.

If a poison has splashed onto their skin

Remove any contaminated clothing. Make sure you don't come into contact with the poison.

Wash the skin thoroughly with running tap water and soap for at least 15 minutes. Make sure the water drains away from your child and you.

Do not put anything on the exposed skin other than water.

Ring the Poisons Information Line on 01 809 2166 (8am to 10pm, 7 days a week) immediately. Contact your GP or hospital outside these hours.

If a poison has been inhaled

Do not put yourself in danger. Do not enter a contaminated area without proper protective equipment.

  1. Move your child to fresh air as soon as possible.
  2. Make sure your child's airway is clear.
  3. Phone 112 or 999 in an emergency.
  4. Start rescue breaths (mouth-to-mouth) if your child is not breathing.

If your child swallows a button cell battery

If you think your child has swallowed a button battery, bring them immediately to your nearest hospital emergency department (A&E) that admits children.

Button cell batteries can cause severe injuries if swallowed, including burns to the throat, stomach or intestines. They have even caused death.

Other dangers from swallowing button batteries include internal bleeding.

Button batteries can also cause choking.

a-button-battery
A button battery can poison and choke your child

Bring the poison with you to hospital

If your child needs to go to hospital, try to bring the poison with you.

This could be:

  • the container that the poison was in
  • a sample of the plant involved in a poisoning incident, for example a branch with leaves, berries and flowers
  • the mushroom that was eaten or any remaining parts

page last reviewed: 16/06/2019
next review due: 16/06/2022