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What to do when your baby or toddler shows signs of alcohol poisoning ?


Signs of alcohol poisoning in young children are far more dangerous than in adults. A small amount can cause a child's blood sugar to drop to a dangerous level.

alcohol poisoning in babies
Photo by: il cantiere on Flickr

Alcohol also depresses the central nervous system which is responsible for our coordination.

If your child has irrational behaviour and falls all over the place, he may have consumed alcohol, or another product containing alcohol.

So how do you know your baby or toddler may have alcohol in his system?

Signs of alcohol poisoning in young children

  • The child may smell of alcohol
  • The face of the child may be red and sweating
  • Confusion, stupor
  • Vomiting
  • Noisy and slow breathing
  • Fast and strong pulse

In more severe cases the symptoms are:

  • Blue or pale skin
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature)
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Respiratory depression
  • Seizures
  • Coma


First aid to give to a child with signs of alcohol poisoning

When a baby has ingested alcohol, you should first of all call 911. The symptoms of alcohol poisoning are not to be underestimated.

What you can do while help is on the way.

  1. Monitor and try to maintain the child’s breathing. Resuscitation may be needed if the breathing stops completely.
  2. Place the child in the recovery position (on his side) so he doesn’t choke in his own vomit.
  3. Cover with a blanket to reduce the risk of hypothermia (low body temperature).


How can children get alcohol poisoning?

Some people give alcohol to little children to make them sleep or to keep them quiet. In 2007, a 6 month old baby died of alcohol poisoning. The mother claimed she gave the baby alcohol to stop him crying.

People don't realize that even the tiniest amount of alcohol can be deadly for an infant.

Make sure you lock all products containing alcohol away from children. Many house hold products contain alcohol like hand sanitizers, anti-septic mouthwash and window cleaners.

signs of alcohol poisoning from hand sanitizer

Alcohol hand rub, and gel sanitizers are disinfectants containing at least 60 per cent alcohol, which is more than ordinary vodka.

Isopropanol alcohol is known as rubbing alcohol and is used in hand sanitizers and as an anti-septic for minor cuts.

Always use tiny amounts on children and never let them use these products without supervision. Even absorbed through the skin it can cause mild signs of alcohol poisoning. For little children rather use a plain bar of antiseptic soap to wash their hands.


Methanol or methyl alcohol is used in antifreeze. Antifreeze is light coloured and has a sweet taste to it. When infants have access to this product they can easily drink large amounts of it.

Symptoms of methyl alcohol poisoning are blurred or misty vision, nausea vomiting shallow breathing, seizures, low blood pressure and cardiac arrest. Surviving patients may be left permanent blind.

Your baby can also get alcohol in his system when you are drinking alcohol while breastfeeding. Drink no more than one or two drinks a week when you are breastfeeding.

Drink rather just after you fed your baby than before, so the alcohol has time to leave your system.


Treatment for alcohol poisoning

When the child arrives at the hospital with signs of alcohol poisoning the first things they usually do is to pump the child’s stomach, provide breathing support and give intra venous fluids. They will give the child intra venous fluids until the alcohol is completely eliminated from the body.


Remedies for alcohol poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is a serious condition that has nothing to do with a hangover. If you believe there are any existing home remedies for alcohol poisoning, then you are wrong.

The only thing you can do is wait until it is eliminated completely from the body.

Trying to cure alcohol poisoning with home remedies can be very dangerous. The effects of alcohol poisoning can be deadly or leave your child brain damaged if not treated with professional medical care.



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