The number to put in your phone when you have little ones? Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222. Text “POISON” TO 797979 to save the poison control contact information in your smartphone.
Did your toddler eat dog poop? Or a berry from your backyard bush? Did you give the wrong medication to your child? Call Poison Control.
Experts at Poison Control will direct your next step. They have access to extensive data on poisoning, and they can give you that information much quicker than a drug-manufacturer or pharmacist or even your own doctor. The call is free.
One of Dr. Lai’s kids ate a mushroom from the yard when she was 20 months old—she called Poison Control. A mom asked Dr. Lai about carbon monoxide exposure—she called Poison Control. If doctors have a question about any ingestion or poisoning—we call Poison Control. But don’t wait for us to call, go ahead yourself and call.
People often jump first to the internet for information. However, a small 2013 study found that the internet is NOT the best place to research questions about toxins. Many sites fail to direct readers to the Poison Control Center, and those who do, fail to supply the proper phone number – again, that’s 1-800-222-1222. If you do want to use the internet, use www.PoisonHelp.org which is a product of the American Association of Poison Control Centers
If your child needs emergent treatment, surfing the internet for what to do next wastes precious time. Don’t reach for your phone to “google it.” In the case of a possible poisoning, reach for your phone and make a CALL.
It could be life-saving.
Julie Kardos, MD and Naline Lai, MD
© 2017 Two Peds in a Pod® modified from 2014