Thomas the tank and his duel with Dettol

This week we talk about children and accidental poisoning. We had a terrible experience when Thomas drank some Dettol. Thankfully he is ok and we are trying to chalk it down to a tough lesson learned.

Through chatting with others we discovered that 1 in 4 cases presenting to a&e in children’s hospitals is due to accidental poisoning. Unfortunately it is very common and one thing very few people know about is the National Poisons Information Centre.

The NPIC have a specific Public Poisons Information Line (01 809 2166) aimed particularly at parents and those caring for young children.I If you suspect accidental poisoning has occurred, the NPIC can rapidly advise if you need to seek urgent medical attention for your child. This service is available between 8am and 10pm, every day. Outside these times you should contact your GP service or a hospital emergency department.

Calls to he NPIC are answered by Poisons Information Officers who are science graduates with a post-graduate qualification in Medical Toxicology. The Poisons Information Officers are responsible for providing accurate and specialised information about acute and chronic toxicological issues, and to assist in the management of poisoned patients.

Our experience with the NPIC was amazing. They advised us what exactly was toxic in Dettol and how much would be dangerous for Thomas based on his weight. Their speedy assistance and instructions were commended by the doctors in Temple Street who reiterated to us that the NPIC should be the first point of call in the case of accidental poisoning.

By sharing our story we are hoping to make more people aware of the service and to have the number to hand in their homes.

Thomas the tank and his duel with Dettol

The National Poisons Information Centre is available at and the help line is available 8am – 10am on 01 809 2166.


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