Toddlers and young children are very liable to swallow; poisonous substances because of their restlessness, their intense curiosity, a desire to put everything into their mouth and a strong urge to imitate adults. Parents contribute to; the danger by neglecting to provide proper storage or potentially harmful household substances, like kerosene oil or napthalene balls and medicines meant for adults.
Common Poisons In-digested
The common poisons and harmful substances which are accidentally swallowed by children include:
(i) Kerosene oil. The child generally drinks it mistaking it for water;
(ii) Weed-killer tablets and pesticides;
(iii) Corrosives like sulfuric acid used for cleaning floors;
(iv) Naphthalene balls;
(v) Sleeping pills and other medicines; and
(vi) Poisonous berries or other plants, e.g., dhatura, opium, or wild mushroom.
Corrosives like sulfuric acid and caustic soda cause a burning sensation, severe pain and blisters in the child's mouth and the food pipe immediately after being swallowed. On the other hand, a child may not have any immediate symptoms on swallowing some pills or other poisonous substances, like napthalene balls, but these can be very dangerous for him over a longer period.
What to do?
1. Try to quickly locate the suspected poisonous substance the child .has actually taken. Pick up and preserve carefully any remaining portion of the swallowed substance for identification and for informing the doctor. Get an idea of the probable amount of substance swallowed by the child.
2. It is best to take the child to the casualty department of the nearest hospital as soon as you can.
3. Do not waste much time in trying to make the child vomit. Do not give him too much salt and water to induce vomiting. Large amounts of salt can harm him.
4. NEVER try to produce vomiting in a child who has taken kerosene oil, a strong acid or alkali like sulfuric acid and caustic soda. It can cause serious damage to his lungs and the linings of his stomach and food pipe,
5. If he has a burning sensation and pain in the mouth due to the strong acid or alkali, give him sips of cold milk and water to drink. It will reduce the pain.
6. Most important, get the child to hospital quickly.
7. Don’t give ipecac syrup or try to make him/her throw up — doctors say this can do more harm to your little one. Instead, call the poison-control center at 800-222-1222 (in the United States).
Symptoms of poisoning
If your child has had a significant poisoning, any symptoms that develop will depend on a number of factors, such as which medicine or chemical is involved and how much the child has been exposed to.
Symptoms of poisoning may include: