Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  Accidental Overdose of Medicine in Children: Care Instructions

Main Content

Accidental Overdose of Medicine in Children: Care Instructions


Almost any medicine can cause harm if your child takes too much of it. Your child has been treated to help their body get rid of an overdose of a medicine. This may have been an over-the-counter medicine. Or it might have been one that a doctor prescribed. It may even have been a natural health product, such as vitamins or herbal remedies.

During treatment, the doctor may have given your child fluids and medicine. Your child also may have had lab tests. Then the doctor made sure that your child was well enough to go home.

The doctor has checked your child carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

Home care

  • Talk with your doctor about what your child should eat or drink.
  • If your child normally takes medicines, ask your doctor when your child can start taking them again.
  • Read the information that comes with any medicine. If you have questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.


  • Be safe with medicines. Give all medicines exactly as prescribed or as the label directs. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think your child is having a problem with a medicine.
  • Store all medicines out of the reach of children. Keep medicines in the containers they came in. Many of these are child-resistant.
  • Keep the poison centre number (1-844-POISON-X or 1-844-764-7669) in your phone. In Alberta, the phone number for the Poison and Drug Information Service (PADIS) is 1-800-332-1414.

When should you call for help?

A poison centre can give you immediate advice in the case of a poisoning. Call 911 if your child passes out, has trouble breathing, is hard to wake up, or is having a seizure.

  • Call 1-844-POISON-X (1-844-764-7669). In Alberta, the phone number for the Poison and Drug Information Service (PADIS) is 1-800-332-1414.
  • Have the poison container with you so you can give complete information to the poison centre, such as what the poison or substance is, how much was taken and when.
  • Do not try to make your child vomit.

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).
  • Your child has trouble breathing.
  • Your child is sleepy or hard to wake up.
  • Your child is having a seizure.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child is vomiting.
  • Your child has a new or worse headache.
  • Your child is dizzy or light-headed or feels like they may faint.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Adapted with permission from copyrighted materials from Healthwise, Incorporated (Healthwise). This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty and is not responsible or liable for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.