Iron Poisoning in Children

Iron poisoning in children usually occurs as an accident or when the child swallows a big number of pills containing iron. These pills are usually thought to be harmless such as vitamins. Iron salt can be found in different forms and type. Aside from pills, ferrous sulfate can be present in drops, syrup, elixir, etc. No prescription is needed to acquire iron salts. And because iron corrodes is a direct irritant to the stomach, the intestinal lining is corroded and thus the most common symptoms involve the digestive tract.The amount of iron that results to poisoning will vary upon the size of the child.Generally, the effects are greater for smaller or lighter children.Iron poisoning can be used interchangeably with iron overdose.

Iron has many uses for the body. Hence, iron supplements are usually taken as a treatment for a condition or state of the body. Iron-containing pills are generally used in treating iron deficiency anemia. Moreover, pregnant women are usually prescribed to take iron supplements. Iron is also available in multivitamin preparations.

Causes of Iron Poisoning in Children

                Most cases of iron poisoning are accidental, especially in cases of children, although there have been cases of adults who have intentionally taken a large number of iron-containing pills to commit suicide. However, in children, the most common causes of iron poisoning in children occur due to:

  • Brightly colored, sweet tasting pills that are sometimes shaped as different characters, thus often mistaking them for candies
  • Availability in big quantities
  • Unaware of possible harm by parents
  • Bottles may not have child resistant closures
  • Iron pills are common before and after pregnancy, thus they are commonly found in homes with small children

Symptoms of Iron Poisoning in Children

Symptoms of iron poisoning in children typically manifest within six hours after ingestion of large amounts of iron. But it may take a shorter time for smaller children.

  • Nausea and severe vomiting, which is sometimes bloody
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea, which may also be bloody
  • If not treated sufficiently, it may lead to
    • Dehydration
    • Lethargy
    • Shock, which may lead to death due to liver failure

How to Manage Iron Poisoning in Children

With apt and adequate treatment, symptoms begin to improve within

First Aid kit for Iron Poisoning

First Aid kit for Iron Poisoning

six to twenty four hours after they begin to manifest.Immediately call for a physician or poison control center.There is no immediate cure for iron poisoning in children, however, several methods can be done to avoid complications.

  • Do not induce vomiting as this may make it difficult to diagnose iron poisoning
  • Bring the containers of swallowed pills when going to the hospital.

It is necessary to seek immediate treatment in cases of iron poisoning in children to eliminate all risks for complications. To learn how to adequately treat iron poisoning in children and other poisoning-related incidences, register to join in first aid courses.


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