In this section
Poisoning – Guidelines for initial management
For 24 hour advice, contact Victorian Poisons Information Centre 131126
All children with deliberate self-poisoning or significant accidental ingestion, especially younger children and toddlers.
Any symptoms of CNS impairment.
Any child whose developmental age is inconsistent with accidental poisoning as non-accidental poisoning should be considered.
Intentional overdose or accidental
Co-ingestants e.g. paracetamol
Always check for Medicalert bracelet in any unconscious patient, or any other signs of underlying medical condition (fingerprick marks etc.)
Usually none in accidental overdoses.
In intentional overdoses, consider co-ingestion risk, therefore;
Measurement of serum benzodiazepine concentration correlates poorly with clinical findings and will not aid management.
Ongoing care and monitoring
Admission should be considered for all children and young people with an intentional overdose.
Consult Victorian Poisons Information Centre 131126 for advice
Children with CNS depression requiring airway protection
For emergency advice and paediatric or neonatal ICU transfers, call the Paediatric Infant Perinatal Emergency Retrieval (PIPER) Service: 1300 137 650.
Prior to discharge, adolescents who present with deliberate ingestions need a risk assessment regarding the likelihood of further ingestions or other attempts to self-harm.
Assessment of other drug and alcohol use should also be undertaken.
If, after risk assessment, it is deemed safe to discharge a patient from hospital, but ongoing mental health or drug and alcohol needs are identified, the adolescent should be linked with appropriate services (see links below for services in the State of Victoria).
Parent Information Sheet: Poisoning prevention for children
Victorian Poisons Information Centre: 13 11 26
HEADSPACE: National Youth Mental Health Foundation
Local headspace centres:
CAMHS: Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
Local services alphabetically by suburb / city
YoDAA: Victoria's Youth Drug and Alcohol Advice Service
1800 458 685
Last Updated April 2019