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Child Abuse

Testing for Poison in A Child

07/26/2000

Question:

If a child is given regularly small doses of poison, such as rat poison or anti-freeeze, would there be noticable symtoms, and can they be easily tested for the poison?

Answer:

The previous response that you received about poisoning explains some of the dangers associated with poisoning and the effects that poisons can have on children. The pharmacist will answer your questions about the effects of rat poison and anti-freeze on the body. The other issue to address is the intentional poisoning of a child. This is a criminal act and may be harmful to the child. I urge you to report your concerns immediately to the police or to the child protective agency if you have reason to suspect that a child is the victim of poisoning. Let these agencies investigate. They will obtain the needed medical evaluation and will conduct a criminal and risk investigation.

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Response by:

Robert Shapiro, MD
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati