Poison Control :: What You Need to Know


We recently had a parenting first in our home. 

My family was getting ready to go see Frozen 2 on a Saturday morning when I heard my daughter playing with the water in her bathroom. I took some time to finish what I was doing, then went in to see what the damage was.

As I walked in I realized there was an empty bottle of children’s Zyrtec floating in the sink full of water. I paused for a minute and then asked her why it was empty. She said, “I drank it so my throat will feel better.” Uh-oh.

I tried to remain calm as I ran to get my husband. He started googling while I started finding the number for poison control. Handily, it’s on the back of the bottle. A kind woman answered and asked for lots of details and then we discovered that the only side effect is sleepiness. Thank. Goodness. My heart recovered and I hugged my daughter and we discussed how we only take the medicine that mommy and daddy give you.

This incident could have been so much worse if it had been a different drug or a different dosage.

After this incident, I wondered if all parents know what to do in such a case or if there was anything I should know for next time.

Helpful Information for Calling Poison Control 

  1. The Poison Control phone number: 1-800-222-1222
  2. Poison Control is available 24/7, 365 days a year and is absolutely FREE.
  3. Our local SC Poison Control is called the “Palmetto Poison Center” and is run by The University of South Carolina. When you call, you will be helped by a healthcare professional that is trained in toxicology and poison information. Their website also boasts great information on how to prevent poisoning and what is or can be poisonous.
  4. Know your child’s height and weight. They aren’t looking for an exact number, but a general knowledge is required. I often hear parents say they have “no idea” how tall their child is or how much they weigh, but you need to know. Have them step on that scale at your grandma’s house. Get that tape measure out and save it in your phone.  This information, along with the child’s age, is very important when calling poison control. 
  5. Have the bottle or container of whatever your child ingested in front of you when calling. The operator will need to know the exact name and strength of whatever it is you are concerned about.
  6. The operator will also need to know the time of exposure or ingestion and any other relevant medical information about your child.
  7. Poison control can be used for adults too! It is for poisoning of any kind. You can even call if your child was stung or bit by something that may be poisonous. 
  8. Know your child and use your brain. Sometimes a call to the poison center is warranted. But sometimes you just need to call 911 or head straight to the ER. Trust your parental instincts!

I hope this information helps you be prepared in case your child or another loved one comes in contact with a potentially harmful substance.

One last thing, be gentle on yourself and others. Accidents happen. You got this!

Have you had to call poison control? What tips would you add to this list?

Previous articleWings of Love :: Confessions of an Almost Helicopter Mom
Next articleWhat I Did When My Toddler’s Cat Died
Lisa Freeburg
Lisa is a transplant from the Midwest. She was born and raised in Kansas (yes, she has seen a tornado) and spent a few years in Ohio before moving to South Carolina in 2014. She holds a degree in Biology and works as a research assistant at the USC School of Medicine. Her career in science spans 11 years and she can't imagine a job anywhere else. She has also been married to her college sweetheart for 11 years. He is a professor at USC, so they are Gamecock fans by default. They are proud parents to a spunky 2.5 year old girl who keeps them on their toes. As a family, they enjoy being outside in the wonderful southern sun, gardening, playing tennis, and going to the beach. They also are parents to 2 fur babies who still aren't sure about their little sister.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here