This post has taken me over a year to write. I get so emotional just even thinking about it. If your child ate or drank a chemical, poison or any type of medication, do you know what to do?

Three years ago I was just sitting down to lunch with one of the girls from work. My phone rang, at first I was going to ignore but as it rang and rang I got a sixth sense to answer it.

‘Hi Kellie, where are you?’

‘Kayla’s not very well’

‘She’s had wee accident, but she’s okay’

‘Can you get to the Hospital as soon as you can’

‘Don’t rush love, drive safe, she will be fine’

I pleaded and begged for the person on the other line to tell me exactly what happened but they wouldn’t, just that she ate something she shouldn’t have. I knew something was seriously wrong.

I will never ever forget the drive to the hospital that day. I almost ended up in a hospital bed myself.

I arrived and ran into the receptionist in tears and when I told her who I was looking for she had a sorry look on her face, ‘she’s in room one hunni’. But room one was empty and so was two and three. But there were two nurses standing outside room four just staring at me. Then a Paediatrician on the phone stood up from behind a desk and said ‘we’ve been waiting for you, it looks worse that what it is… please try not to panic’.

There she was, lifeless with wires hanging from every part of her body. There was a nurse sitting on the side of the bed. There was this black coal like stuff all over the bed, on her clothes and all around her mouth. One of the machines was beating like crazy cause her heart rate was low. She began jerking as if she was having a mild fit. She was completely out of it.

Kayla had eaten a tablet that was sitting in a medication cup in a bedroom, a sedative called Clozapine.


‘We are concerned that she hasn’t been responding to well, could you talk to her, maybe your familiar voice will help arouse her.’ They wanted to see how she would respond, to see if she was alert under the effects of the drug. And she did. She tried to lift her head towards me. I will never forget it.

The Doctor then explained everything. He had never encountered an overdose of it’s kind. They were very concerned about her kidneys. Tallaght Hospital at the time didn’t have a dialysis machine available god forbid she took a turn for the worse so she needed a transfer to Crumlin.

They brought her up to the High Dependency Unit while they arranged the transfer. Within the hour she was transferred by ambulance with a High Dependency Nurse by her side, into the Nephro Urology ward of Our Lady’s Children Hospital.

That whole day is a blur. I remember the first time I saw her, that image will never leave me. I remember thinking she is going to die.

I sat up all night leaning on her cot bed drifting in and out. Every single time the machine beeped my stomach turned upside down, I would shake her and run to the nurse’s station in a panic.


By morning she was very distressed. The effects of the drug were beginning to wear off. She was slurring some words. She couldn’t lift her legs, her head weighed a tonne and her arms were like jelly. She didn’t know where she was. Even if she was able to move she couldn’t because there were so many wires hanging from her.

By lunchtime, she was hungry so the nurses helped me prop her up on a chair so she could have some toast. She ate maybe four or five bites, but according to the nurses, this was really good progress. They hooked her up to an IV and she slept for the best part of the day.


By that evening like some sort of miracle her blood tests came back clear. Every single one of them. Although she was still a little confused, she was up playing, being the loud-mouthed Kayla we all know and love. Thankfully she continued to progress until she was discharged.

My two year old was very lucky was extremely lucky.

In Ireland, one thousand kids are hospitalised each year with poisoning. After my experience, I cannot stress how important it is to keep all medicines, electronic cigarettes, washing and dishwasher tablets/pods/capsules, cosmetics and cleaning products locked away in a secure cupboard AT ALL TIMES. Also watch for stuff in the garden like slug pellets, weed killer, mushrooms and fungi.

If you think your child has been poisoned stay calm but act quick. If your child has eaten something make them spit it out and use your hands to remove any remaining pieces in their mouth, and do not give your child anything to eat or drink or make them vomit. And seek medical help immediately. If you are in Ireland ring the Poisons Information Centre in Beaumont on 01-8092166. They are open from 8am-10pm daily, outside of these hours call 999/112. And if you are living in the UK ring 999.

Please share and help spread awareness.

32 Comments on Childhood Poisoning | Our Story

  1. That’s horrible – such a scare to have. Glad she was okay in the end. I already have the poison information centre number in my phone, just in case we ever needed it. It’s a brilliant service. Well done for sharing this to highlight the service.

  2. Oh how awful, I have tears in my eyes reading this, I can only imagine how you felt. I am so glad Kayla made a full recovery. The poison control centre is fantastic, I had to ring it twice myself and they were amazing!

  3. Thank you for sharing this post as I can only imagine how heart wrenching it must be to have to think about. Thank goodness your little lady made a full recovery. Maybe your post could save another little person. I for one will definitely be more alert as to what’s within reach. Thank you for making me think x

  4. God this must have been awful, I can’t imagine how horrendous it must have been for you all. So glad Kayla was okay but it just highlights the dangers. We have a lot of medication in the house and right now my little one can’t get anywhere near it, but that won’t last for long. I think we’re going to look into getting cupboard locks for the medicine cabinet and washing cabinet.

  5. Many years ago, a toddler drank weed killer. It was a lethal amount for his weight. A GP was nearby and he ran to help.He noted that the container stated ” deactivated by soil” so he dug up and wet clay and started making the child swallow it. The doctor’s quick thinking saved the child’s life. The shock of hearing about the poisoning always stayed with me

  6. I’m so happy to hear Kayla made a full recovery! Well done for sharing your experience, if it saves just one child it is worth it! This can’t have been easy to write, I’m sure it brought back a lot of bad memories and I bet you hug her extra tight tonight!

  7. Can’t imagine the terror of being called for something like this. So happy she made a full recovery. It did make me check my Red Cross Baby First Aid app and in the UK we are advised to call 999 in the first instance. 111 is for non urgent medical help.

  8. Such an informative post and thanks for sharing your story with us. I have had to teach my children from as soon as they could understand the dangers as their eldest brother is on so many medications just to keep him alive. It is so important to keep everthing out of reach xx

  9. That must have been so difficult for you, can’t imagine how awful the experience must have been. Since the boys were little I’ve had to take really strong painkillers and morphine for back operations. I sat them down showed them my tablets I take daily and explained how even taking one of them could kill them as they were so little. The boys took all this on board and know how serious medications can be. I do go a bit OCD and don’t let them have tic tac’s as once they pretended they were tablets. But it’s not a risk I can take with what we have in the house. #love2blog

  10. Thats very scary especially the fact you weren’t there. I would have panicked just like any other mother would. Thankfully this never happened to us and I hope it never will. The closest we ever got was that he held a coin in his hand but I caught him on time.

  11. Gosh, this is the stuff of my worst nightmares. I’m so sorry you went though this. I just can’t imagine what an awful experience it must’ve been for you. It’s very good of you to share your experience though – it could save a life. xx

  12. What a scar experience for you. We had a similar experience with our puppy yoda and he was covered in charcoal. (It is much worse though when it’s your child) i’m glad she is okay though and its great to share this as it helps others to know what to do. I had an A and E incident with my child a few years back when she got a pea up her nose! Not nice but I learnt how to deal with it incase it ever happens again!


  13. this is every parents worse nightmare isn’t it. I know of someone who’s child ate a tablet that was meant to clean false teeth and it completely burnt out her throat, I’ve been even more paranoid about it since then. I’m so glad she made a full recovery and she was treated in time, poor little and poor you! xx

  14. Wow Kellie, I’m just catching this post today. You must have been in a state of blind panic. It’s a reminder to us all to remain ever village to where our kids are concerned. Thank you for resharing xxx

  15. This is horrifying and cannot stress how pleased I am Kayla is so well now x those Crumlin backdrops are oh too familiar for us and I can safely say I hope no parent ever ends up in there with their angel x you are very brave to share and help others by doing so xx

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