Children and poisonings - prevention tips

In all households, there is a variety of products that are poisonous or in other ways harmful. Accidental use or consumption of these products may lead to poisoning that in the worst cases may be life threatening.

Foto: Johnér Bildbyrå AB

​Children of age 1 – 4 years are especially prone to poisonings. In case of accidents, it is very important to know how to react, in order to minimize damage. Often, you will not need to do anything – but sometimes it may be important to give the child something to drink, to flood eyes or skin, or to react in other ways.

Some medicines and chemicals may be dangerous even in small quantities. Swift medical treatment may be important. Do not wait for symptoms of poisoning to occur before you ask for help and advice: Call The Poison Information: 22 59 13 00 – this line is open and answered by qualified personnel, around the clock.

Alternatively, seek medical advice from a general practitioner (GP) or an emergency room (legevakt). In case of serious/ life threatening symptoms, call the emergency services at 113. Simple things you can do to reduce the risk of poisoning accidents at home.

Medicines

​The most harmful medicines may be extremely dangerous for children. Even one tablet intended for adults may cause severe poisoning in a child. Other medicines are not very dangerous. A child may eat as many as 20 fluorine tablets, birth control tablets, or multivitamin tablets (without iron), without showing any symptoms. Medicines that are sold without prescription may also cause poisoning.

  • Always keep all medicines out of reach

  • Always check the label before you administer medicine to children, in order to avoid confusion. Show extra care when administering medicine at nighttime

  • Always follow the doctor’s instructions when administering medicine. Read the instructions carefully to ensure that you give the child the appropriate amount

  • Refer to medicines by their proper name; do not call them candies or sweets

  • Pay attention when you have guests or are away from your home. Children may, in unguarded moments, find medicines that are easily accessible, for example in unattended handbags

Chemical substance

​You will find a variety of chemical substances in all households – for use in the house, the car or the garden. Correct storing of these products is important in order to prevent poisoning accidents.

Drain openers and stove detergents are examples of products that may cause serious chemical burns if they are swallowed, or get in contact with the eyes or the skin. Petroleum products, such as lamp oil, white spirit and petrol may even in small children and poisoning 3.pngquantities cause serious damage to the lungs if they enter the respiration system by swallowing.

  • Store chemical products safely, out of reach and out of sight for children. Dangerous products should be kept in locked cupboards.

  • Keep everything in original, labeled containers. Never transfer products to cups or soft drink bottles.

  • Remember that child-resistant packaging is not child-proof.

  • Children may be able to open containers even if they are made to be resistant.

  • Whilst in use, never leave products in reach or unattended.

  • Labeling on the packaging may be misguiding. Products may be poisonous even if they are not marked with danger/warning symbols.

  • The Norwegian Poison Information has information about the contents of a very large range of products, and has experience in assessment of risk of poisoning.

It is easy to reduce the risk of poisoning accidents at home.

 

Products containing tobacco and nicotine

​Products containing tobacco and nicotine, such as nicotine, chewing gum and snuff, may be poisonous for children. These products are often easily accessible and poisonings may happen fast. Always keep products containing tobacco and nicotine out of reach. No symptoms would be expected from a child (>1 year old) after consumption of as much as half a cigarette. If this happens, just rinse the child’s mouth and give it something to drink. If the child has eaten more than half a cigarette, contact The Norwegian Poison Information.

Mushrooms

​A few mushrooms are so poisonous that just a small taste may cause poisoning. If your child has tasted an unknown mushroom, always contact The Norwegian Poison Information. We may help you identify the mushroom, and give advice on the proper measures to take. Have the mushroom, or a picture of it, at hand when you make the call, so that you will be able to describe it accurately over the phone.

Plants

children and poisoning1.pngWe are surrounded by plants, both indoors and out. Most of them are harmless to taste, but a few plants may cause poisoning even in small quantities. Be aware of which plants grow in your vicinity, both at home and in the immediate surroundings. Feel free to visit The Norwegian Poison Information's website, www.giftinfo.no, where you will find useful information about both harmless and dangerous plants.

Children like to pick berries, but are edible and the poisonous kinds. However, with the exception of the berries from the Belladonna plant (Deadly Nightshade), it is never dangerous to eat one berry.