Nov 3, 2003: What is the AAP's new policy on poison treatment in the home?

The American Academy of Pediatrics announced its new policy on Poison Treatment in the Home in a plenary address yesterday at its annual meeting in New Orleans. It appears as a formal statement in this month's issue of Pediatrics (Pediatrics 2003; 112; 1182-1185). The most notable recommendation is that the AAP no longer recommends ipecac in the home as a treatment intervention. Here are the recommendations from that policy statement...

* Poison prevention should continue as an integral part of
anticipatory guidance activities of infant and child health care providers.

* Syrup of ipecac should no longer be used routinely as a poison
treatment intervention in the home.

* Pediatricians and other professionals who care for children should
advise parents to safely dispose of the syrup of ipecac currently in their homes.

* Research does not support the routine administration of activated
charcoal in the home as efficacy and safety have not been demonstrated.

* The first action for a caregiver of a child who may have ingested a
toxic substance should be to consult with the local poison control center for help by telephoning (800) 222-1222. 

 Comment; The days of performing any type of GI decontamination in the home are over!!!  This policy statement will help to standardize pediatrician's treatment recommendations regarding poisoning.  This has been hotly debated in the AAP for many years.  I am glad there is finally a consensus recommendation.

As always, if there are any questions, call the MTPC.

I am interested in any questions that you would like answered in “Question of the Week.”  Please e-mail me with any suggestions at

Donna Seger, M.D.
Medical Director, Middle Tennessee Poison Center