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Pediatric medical toxicology is the pediatric specialty that treats poisoned children. Pediatric medical toxicologists perform and prescribe treatments to counteract poisoning. Pediatric medical toxicologists work in hospitals, emergency departments, pharmaceutical research programs, and poison control centers.
Young children (particularly those under the age of six) are especially vulnerable to poisoning due to their smaller size and limited metabolic capability. This risk is intensified by children's greater likelihood for unintentional toxin consumption. Fortunately, pediatric medical toxicologists are experienced in solving the intricacies of poisoning cases present in young patients. Pediatric medical toxicologists may see patients for the following situations:
Pediatric medical toxicologists ask patients or their caregivers what substance the patient has been exposed to, the method of exposure (such as inhalation or ingestion), and the time which the exposure occurred. Some pediatric medical toxicologists may request caregivers bring the original toxin container or medication bottle for further assessment. Patients may undergo blood or urine tests to detect certain chemicals and drugs. In an emergency facility setting, patients are immediately evaluated for their breathing and physical condition. Patients with irregular heart rhythm may receive an electrocardiogram (ECG). Pediatric poisoning treatments can include:
If you believe your child has been poisoned, call the 24-hour national Poison Control Center hotline at 1-800-222-1222.