If your child ingests something poisonous, your first instinct might be to try to induce your child to vomit. However, the act of vomiting can sometimes have a more harmful effect than the poison itself. Instead, you should contact poison control immediately.

Discovering That Your Child is Poisoned

Ideally, you should see your child ingesting the poison so you can immediately contact poison control and so you know exactly what your child ingested. However, you may have to rely on symptoms that you witness your child experiencing. If your child appears drowsy, confused or has an altered mental state, he or she might be drugged. If your child is vomiting or complains of nausea, ask if he or she swallowed anything. Look for burns or redness on your child's mouth or lips.

Contacting Poison Control

Poison control is a 24-hour service that is staffed by doctors and nurses. The specialists will instruct you on what to do and may also tell you to take your child to an emergency room. The specialists will also call the hospital to notify the staff of your child's condition.

Inducing Vomiting

The only time that you should induce your child to vomit is if the poison control center tells you to do so. Some agent will be damaging to the throat, harming your child as the vomit travels upward. Some chemicals can froth upward or turn into a vapor, which can cause them to then be inhaled. This may cause your child to have difficulty breathing. If your child swallowed an acid, his or her stomach may be better able to tolerate the acid than the esophagus. It's especially important not to vomit if your child has a burning sensation in his or her mouth.

If you are told to induce vomiting, follow the instructions provided. While your child is vomiting, keep his or her head lower than his or her body to reduce the risk of inhaling the vomit. When you do induce vomiting, it is no longer recommended that you use Ipecac. Ipecac takes too long to systematically induce vomiting and the delayed response can cause your child to throw up something that wasn't intended, such as an antidote.

Taking Your Child to the Hospital

Sometimes the only way to stabilize your child is to have his or her stomach pumped. A tube will be placed down your child's throat into his or her stomach. Then, a very large needle will be used to send water or saline into the stomach. For more information, talk to a professional like Kitsap Children's Clinic LLP.