If you’re just interested in knowing what can happen when your child drinks bleach, or want to know what to do when your child has been drinking bleach or other toxic cleanser, you may want to read our article to prevent this from happening or prepare to respond quickly.
How are these substances toxic to children?
Ingestion of toxic substances such as bleach and other cleaning agents has serious consequences. The effects can even be obtained by inhaling the vapors released into the air by the substances or by skin contact.
The child should be taken immediately to the hospital for emergency response if he or she has ingested these toxic substances.
Bleach, detergents, cosmetics and personal care products are considered toxic. They contain chemical compounds that are known to cause similar damage as burns.
When a child drinks bleach or the like, it usually happens accidentally. If a teenager or adult swallows it, it has probably been a suicide attempt and then the person needs more treatment than just first aid.
How can this be prevented from happening?
Children usually drink poison when someone has left it within their reach, and sometimes they even resemble their own drinking bottle.
The child recognizes a familiar bottle and drinks from it. Home security depends on prevention. Read the following section to prevent damage:
- Avoid leaving toxic substances out of the reach of children (bleach, ammonia, detergents, shampoo).
- Do not reuse a familiar and safe bottle or container for toxic substances. Keep toxic substances in their original containers so you can read the manufacturer’s instructions if a child accidentally drinks from it.
- Avoid keeping toxic substances in the vicinity of the child’s play area, as poisoning can also occur through inhalation or skin contact.
- We recommend using vinegar as a cleaning agent in your home. This is antibacterial and does not emit toxic fumes into the air and does not damage the skin through direct contact.
What should be done after a child has drunk bleach?
Stay calm. If you panic, it will only make the situation worse. Because of your child, you have to be determined. First aid is based on the following points:
- Never try to induce vomiting. This causes damage to occur again as the poison passes through the esophagus.
- Do not give your child food or drink, not water, milk or egg whites. There are no home-made medicines or solutions to this situation.
- Call the emergency number.
- Take your child to the nearest hospital for emergency or first aid as soon as possible.
- Take the bottle from which the child drank the poison.
- Probably the child drank the substance very little. The substance tastes bitter, as manufacturers add bitter substances to prevent people from accidentally drinking them.
- If your child is older and drank a larger amount of the substance, he or she did so to potentially harm himself or herself. The sooner you take your child to the emergency room, the better chance you have of saving his or her life.
Symptoms after ingestion of toxic substances
If you have a small child and you do not know if he or she has been drinking bleach or any other toxic substance, check if your child has any of the following symptoms:
- immediate pain in mouth or throat
- difficulty swallowing and hoarseness of sound
- malaise and vomiting, possibly blood in vomiting
- difficulty breathing and sharp noises when breathing
- chest pain
If your child goes into shock, you need to act fast. Symptoms of shock include: mental confusion, loss of consciousness, sweating, facial pallor, cold hands and feet.
Remember: the most important thing in such cases is to go directly to the hospital for emergency or first aid. If your child has intentionally swallowed a toxic substance and is coping with it, it is your responsibility to take him or her to a psychiatrist’s office as well.