The following information comes directly from the Poisons Information Centre. The management and treatment for poisoning is constantly changing, so methods used in the past, may now be discouraged. When you call the Poisons information Centre on 13 11 26  be rest assured that their databases are updated regularly and they will provide you with the latest and most current management for your loved one.

**If the victim has collapsed, stopped breathing, is fitting or is suffering an anaphylactic reaction, ring 000 for an ambulance.

Do NOT ring the Poisons Information Centre.


My child has swallowed a poisonous substance, what do I do? 

DO NOT try and induce vomiting.
Pick up the container and take it to the telephone.
Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 and they will give you advice on how to further manage the situation.


My child has a poisonous substance on their skin, what do I do? 

Quickly and calmly remove the contaminated clothing, taking great care to avoid contact with the poisonous substance. 

Flood the skin with cool running water for 15 minutes. After you have irrigated the area, gently wash with soap and water, ensure you rinse well.

Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.

Managing poisons in the eye

Flood the eye with water. To do this hold the eyelid open and use a small jug, cup or slowly running tap.

Irrigate for 10-15 minutes.

Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26

Inhaled poison

Take the person to fresh air quickly, without placing yourself at risk.

Open doors and windows wide, if safe to do so.

Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26



Administering medication to children can be tricky, especially for infants who do not understand the rationale behind mummy or daddy trying to squirt this yucky tasting syrup into their mouth.

When a doctor prescribes medication to a paediatric (baby/child), the dose that is prescribed is based on the paediatrics weight. The doctor will do a simple mathematical equation allowing an appropriate, safe dose to be administered. It is SO important to comply with the prescribed dosage and ALWAYS read and follow directions. If you are unsure, speak with your doctor or local pharmacist. 

Helpful tips for administering oral medications to paediatrics

  • Ensure your child is upright when administering oral medications, never left laying on their back. 
  • Place end of dosage device / syringe in the corner of your child’s mouth. Aim the medicine inside the cheek, not in the front where it can dribble out, or be spat out. To avoid gagging and choking, don’t aim for the back of the throat. 
  • Pretend to give your child’s medicine to a favorite toy or stuffed animal perhaps.
  • A reward for good cooperation may help, perhaps something special, a favourite game, book, special mummy and daddy time.
  • As a last resort, hold your child’s nose. Not only will this force your child to open their mouth, it also will minimise their ability to taste the medicine. 
  • Suppositories, chewable pills or capsules are another option when age appropriate.


  • ALWAYS read directions.
  • NEVER leave medication unattended.  
  • DO NOT give your child another persons medicine.
  • ALWAYS administer medication to your child in a well lit area. Overdosage is very common and the Poisons Information Centre send many children to the emergency department as a result of overdosage.
  • DOUBLE CHECK with another person prior to administering the medication.
  • ALWAYS refer to the medications by their correct name, they are NOT lollies or treats. 
  • If you are unsure, seek advice from your local pharmacist.

Key points to remember

Never use a teaspoon as they vary in size.
Always check expiry prior to use.
If you think your child is having an adverse reaction to the medication, for example vomiting, diarrhoea or a rash, withhold the medication and speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
If the victim has collapsed, stopped breathing, is fitting or is suffering an anaphylactic reaction, ring 000 for an ambulance.
Do NOT ring the Poisons Information Centre.


*Useful link: Children’s Panadol Dosage Calculator 


Hand foot and mouth disease – coxsackie virus

Hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a viral infection predominately seen in children (under 10 years) and young adults. The viral infection is very common, easily spread but rarely causes complications. 

Signs and symptoms

The following signs and symptoms generally develop three to seven days after exposure to an infected person, the duration of the virus is usually seven to ten days.

  • Fever.
  • Tiredness.
  • Poor appetite.
  • Complain of a sore throat.
  • Tiny blisters inside the mouth, including blisters around the tongue, palms, fingers, soles of the feet and the genital region.
  • The small blisters are generally not itchy like the chickenpox blisters.



How does my child catch this virus?

When a child or young adult comes in contact with the fluid from inside the blisters, they will most probably become infected. Transmission is as simple as coming into contact with a droplet from a sneeze or cough. The virus is also known to be present in faeces for several weeks, so those with young babies be mindful when out and about using public nappy change facilities. 

Is there a vaccine or cure for the coxsakie virus?

There is currently no vaccine or cure for this common viral infection.

I’m pregnant, my toddler has the virus, will my unborn baby be safe?

There is no current evidence indicating the virus is a risk for pregnant women and their unborn baby.

What do I do if my child develops this common virus?

Being that HFMD is a virus, antibiotics will not be prescribed for this infection. The key management is making the child comfortable. Analgesia can be given for the pain and fever associated with the virus. Children will often complain of a sore throat and be off their food as the blisters are painful, so ensure you keep them comfortable and offer your child frequent sips of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Encourage your child to avoid touching and breaking the blisters, allow them to dry naturally.

Observe your child for signs their illness is not improving and if they complain of a headache, back pain or neck stiffness, seek medical advice immediately. 


Q. How do I protect my family from germs?


A good hand washing technique is the first line of defence against the spread of many illnesses. The common cold, predominantly caused by the human rhinoviruses, to more serious illnesses such as meningitis, bronchiolitis, influenza, hepatitis A, and most types of infectious diarrhoea (norovirus).

To help minimise germs passed around your family and reduce the incidence of doctors visits, ensure frequent hand washing rules are in place.

Encourage your child to wash their hands after toileting, before eating/cooking, after touching animals and more frequently if they are unwell (coughing, sneezing, blowing their nose).

Make hand-washing fun! Wash your hands with your child; perhaps make a game of it, or make up a fun song!

“Wash, wash, wash our hands, rinsing off the germs, down they go, down they go, wash away the germs”.


1. Wash hands in warm water. Ensuring the water isn’t too hot for little hands.

2. Use soap and lather up for around 20 seconds (antibacterial soap isn’t necessary — any soap will do). Make sure your child gets right in between the fingers, under their nails and last but not least, don’t forget the wrists.

3. Rinse and pat dry.

Don’t underestimate the power of hand washing! 



Chest Rubs and Vapouriser Fluids

The Poisons Information Centre DOES NOT recommend the use of chest rubs, vapouriser or inhalant fluids, to treat coughs, colds, or for any other purpose.

Current recommendations suggest that chest rubs and vapouriser fluids do not have any proven benefit. Although they can make you feel as though your airways are clearing, this is due to the camphor, menthol and eucalyptus oil. These ingredients can often make nasal passages more sensitive to cool air.

According to the Poisons Information Centre, chest rubs and vapouriser fluids DO NOT have a decongestant effect and they do not make it easier to breathe.

The camphor and eucalyptus oil in chest rubs and vapouriser fluids are poisonous and can make children very sick if they swallow them. Each year the Poisons Information Centre send a number of children to hospital, after they have swallowed chest rub or vapouriser fluid.

If you think your child has swallowed a chest rub or vapouriser fluid contact the Poisons Information Centre immediately. Be safe and do not have chest rubs or vapouriser fluid in the house. For further information about chest rubs and vapouriser fluids, or other poisons, ring the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Did you know?

  • Current recommendations suggest ‘steam’ therapy, including vapourisers to be of NO benefit.
  • Steam vapourisers are regarded as dangerous because of accidental burns, so are NOT advised.
  • 50% of burns seen in children are from scalds.