First Aid


old think: If your child ingests a toxic substance, you should administer syrup of ipecac to make him vomit.

new think: Don't do anything until you call your local Poison Control Center.

why: If you don't give ipecac within 30 minutes of ingestion, it does no good. Besides, if a child has swallowed a caustic agent like Liquid Drano or lighter fluid, vomiting will cause further harm because the liquid can burn the esophagus on the way back up. So call the Poison Control Center and report what your child has swallowed and how long ago it happened. If the substance is toxic, you'll probably be advised to bring him to the nearest ER, where he´ll be given activated charcoal to prevent absorption of the poison. In some cases ipecac may be useful -- but only if the Poison Control Center or your doctor recommends it.

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