Drug poisoning normally occurs when three standard situations take place:

  • A young child consumes pills which were left in an easily accessible place, drinks sweet syrup and so on;
  • Parents get confused about a drug dose which was prescribed by a doctor or taken in the course of self-treatment (when milligrams and milliliters get mixed up, suspensions are not prepared properly etc.);
  • A child (normally a teenager) attempts suicide.


In the majority of situations parents aren’t able to identify exactly how dangerous the medicine taken by their child is and how big the dose was.

A lot of drug poisoning cases can involve the situation when directly after the medicine was taken no dangerous symptoms appear, and a few hours later the child’s condition deteriorates rapidly.

Don’t wait for any symptoms! Drug poisoning is definitely a reason to get medical help.

Emergency aid:

  • When condition is critical start cardio-pulmonary resuscitation; 
  • If the victim is unconscious but breathing and heart beating is present, put them in a lying steady position on one side;  


  • Inspect the mouth cavity to find out whether there are any medicine leftovers; if you found any – remove them;
  • If the child is conscious and not more than 30 minutes passed from the moment of a supposed medicine overdose, try to induce vomiting:
    • To induce vomiting give a child 1-2 glasses of water or milk to drink, after that hold the child firmly with one hand, insert two fingers of the other hand into the oropharyngeal cavity and move them;
    • You may use a spoon instead of fingers, and you need to press a base of the child’s tongue with it;
    • Attempts to induce vomiting need to be exercised despite the child’s reluctance;
  • After the vomit was induced, please give a child absorbent carbon;
  • Put a child on one side, offer them some tea or milk to drink;
  • If you are unable to induce vomiting, give a child some absorbent carbon anyway, and then some tea or milk;
  • Show the packaging of the medicine to the rescuers who came to your aid; in case you don’t know what your child swallowed take anything suspicious you found with you and show it in the hospital;
  • If the suicide note was found, please preserve it.

Don’t induce vomiting, if:

  • The child is unconscious;
  • More than 30 minutes passed since poisoning;
  • You have any suspicions that the child took acid, alkali or oil-containing products (petrol, gas, etc.)

The benefit of timely taken absorbent carbon is higher than the benefit of vomiting.
If you aren’t sure that you are able to help, if the child is reluctant, or if it is impossible to induce vomiting – don’t waste your time. Give absorbent carbon.

For acute poisonings a single dose of absorbent carbon amounts to 1g/kg of the child’s weight.
It means that a child with the weight of 10 kg must swallow 10 g of absorbent carbon, i.e. 20 or 40 tablets (0.5 or 0.25 g in 1 tablet).
Remember! It is practically impossible to overdose on absorbent carbon. It is never too much! Give as much as your child can swallow. If they swallowed and vomited - give more.

Dont give absorbent carbon if the child took acid, alkali or iron-containing drugs.

If the iron-containing drugs were taken, you may, while you are waiting for assistance:

  • Induce vomiting;
  • Give some milk;
  • Give 1-2 raw eggs (it is better to give only egg white);
  • Dissolve 1.5 tea-spoon of edible soda in a glass of water and give to your child to drink.


Preventive measures

  • Carefully read instructions for medical use, don’t hesitate to ask and check again with doctors, make sure you don’t confuse milliliters (ml) and milligrams (mg).
  • Store medicines only in their original packaging in a secure place where they are inaccessible to children, in a lockable cupboard or in a container (first aid kit).
  • Check best-before dates for medicines you use.
  • If you decided to get rid of an out-of-date medicine, make sure that children (or animals) don’t find it in your rubbish bin.
  • Prior to giving medicine to a child make sure that this drug is exactly what you mean to give – read the name on the packaging, read medical instructions once again.
  • Dont give children your medicines (for adults) and dont take drugs in the presence of children, so you exclude undesired copying.
  • Don’t give medicines when it is dark.
  • Don’t be lazy and put medicines away after use.
  • Don’t name medicines with “tasty” words (sweet, juice, etc.)

 (На русском языке данную статью можно прочесть здесь.)

автор Комаровский Е.О.
опубликовано 17/08/2016 09:00
обновлено 29/08/2016
Семья, Неотложная помощь


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