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I will be baby-sitting in my neighborhood soon.

Dear Dr. Cory:

I will be baby-sitting in my neighborhood soon. What should I do if one of the kids that I am baby-sitting for takes something poisonous?

Stephanie Kennedy Kansas City, Missouri

Dear Stephanie:

You should always call the poison control center before giving any medication for poisoning. Some poisons can be treated with syrup of ipecac, but other poisons cannot. Syrup of ipecac will make the poisoned person vomit. If the person were to vomit after swallowing drain cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, or gasoline, for example, the poison would burn the throat as it came back up.

When you call the poison control center, take the child and the bottle or container of poison to the phone with you. The nurse or pharmacist at the poison control center will want to know the child's age, the phone number where you are, and what poison the child took. They will tell you what you should do.

The poison control center might tell you to give the child syrup of ipecac. They will tell you how much to give the child and to follow the ipecac with several glasses of water. The child should then vomit in about twenty minutes. During this time, you will want to stay on the phone with the poison control center.

If the child you are watching swallows poison and is unconscious or is having breathing difficulties, convulsions, or severe throat pain, call 9 1 1, or the emergency number in your area, immediately.

The poison control center's telephone number should be on every telephone in the house where you are baby-sitting. The parents should leave a telephone number where they can be reached in case of emergency. The family should also have a bottle of syrup of ipecac. Ask the parents to show you where they keep the ipecac. If you have not yet taken a "Safe Sitter" course, I would strongly advise you to do so.

The course will teach you what to do in an emergency, so you will feel better prepared in case something happens while you are baby-sitting. To find out if a "Safe Sitter" course is offered in your area, write to:

Safe Sitter National Headquarters 1500 North Ritter Avenue Indianapolis, IN 46219
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Title Annotation:Ask Doctor Cory; includes related information on Safe Sitter training courses; what to do if a child swallows poison
Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:Children's Digest
Date:Dec 1, 1994
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