What is poison?

MP900390445A poison is a toxic substance that when tasted, touched, or inhaled can cause illness or even death to a person.

Poisons are often used for a purpose such as cleaning products, prescription medications, over the counter medications, herbal and illegal drugs, some plants and animal bites such as snakes and spiders.



Watch this video for more info on how to stay safe from poisons

Video provided courtesy of Premium Health

How can I keep children safe from poisons?

  • The best way to store and secure poisons away from children is ideally in a locked cabinet or at least on a high shelf out of reach of children.
  • If you suspect a child has come into contact with a poison, call the Poisons Information Line in your country
  • Different poisons have different treatments, so it is important to follow instructions when treating a suspected case of poisoning.
  • If a child has poisoning symptoms, call your local emergency services immediately.

The Poison Information Lines

Click here for an interactive map of poison control numbers around the world from the World Health Organization!

Click here for more poison emergency information and international phone numbers


Signs of symptoms of poisoning


  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irritation of the eyes, skin, throat, or respiratory tract
  • Vomiting
  • Burning of the mouth
  • Changes in skin colour
  • Headache or blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Convulsions
  • Clumsiness or lack of coordination
  • Cramps or diarrhoea


First Aid for poisons

  • If you suspect poisoning, call 000 immediately
  • For eye contact – gently irrigate the eye with running water for 20 minutes
  • For skin contact – gently wash the skin with clear running water
  • For plant poisoning – remove any plant pieces and keep a sample of this when you seek medical treatment
  • For poisons breathed in, take the child into the fresh air
  • For swallowed poisons – the treatment depends on the substance ingested
  • If the poison is in a container, it will often include instructions of how to treat if ingested – look for these on the container.