- Iron. Found in iron supplements (pills and liquids) and multivitamins with iron, including prenatal vitamins; used to treat anemia in adults and children. Iron is one of the most common causes of injury from poisoning in young children. Iron can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, shock, seizures and coma.
- Chloroquine, quinine, quinidine and hydroxychloroquine. All are used to either prevent and/or treat malaria. Quinidine is also used for certain kinds of heart problems. Hydroxychloroquine (plaquenil) is used to treat arthritis and lupus, too. These medicines can cause coma, seizures, abnormal heart rates and shock.
- Blood pressure-control medicines. These include Clonidine and Catapres. Clonidine has also been used increasingly to treat children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Dr. Bond says. "In the last three years I've seen an increase in the number of kids whove gotten a hold of their sibling's Clonidine. "That's a much more likely scenario than a toddler finding his grandparent's blood-pressure pills," he says. These medicines can cause coma, low blood pressure and slow heart rate.
- Sulfonylureas. This is a class of medicines used for type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes. They include Glyburide, Tolbutamide, (brand names: Micronase, Diabinese, Orinase and Glucotrol). The sulfonylureas can cause low blood sugar and coma.
- Tricyclic antidepressants. Used to treat depression, this class of drugs includes Tofranil, Desipramine and Amytriptyline (brand names: Pamelor and Elavil). They can cause coma, seizures and abnormal heartbeats.
- Lindane. Its not a pill but a liquid thats used topically to treat scabies and head lice (brand name: Kwell). It's not meant to be taken internally (swallowed) by anyone. Just a teaspoon or two may lead to seizures.
- Diphenoxylate/atropine. This is an antidiarrhea medicine that travelers have used in the past. "It's not so broadly used today," Dr. Bond says, "but it may still be available or on your shelf." You may know it better by its brand name, Lomotil. It can produce respiratory depression and coma.
- Beta blockers. This is a class of heart medicines designed to slow the heart rate. They include propranolol, carvedilol, atenolol, labetalol, nadolol, and metoprolol tartrate. Brand names include Inderal, Coreg, Tenormin, Normodyne, Trandate, Corgard and Lopressor. These medicines can cause very low blood pressure and slow heartbeats in kids.
- Theophylline. "This was once used widely for asthma, but it isn't anymore," Dr. Bond says. These days it is less often prescribed for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but it also may be prescribed for premature babies to help stimulate their breathing. It can cause seizures and abnormal heartbeats.
- Calcium channel blockers. These are medications used for heart disease. This group includes verapamil, diltiazem, nifedipine, nicardipine, felodipine, isradipine, amlodipine, nisoldipine and bepridil. Common trade names include: Procardia, Veralin, Calan, Isoptin, Cardizem, Plendil, Dilacor, Sular, Norvasc, Dynacirc, Adalat and Vascor. They can cause low blood pressure and slow heartbeats.
- Camphor. Products containing camphor include camphorated oil, Ben-Gay Children's Rub and Vicks VapoRub. Products containing camphor are meant for topical (skin) use only. When ingested they can cause seizures.
- Oil of wintergreen. This is a liquid that contains a form of aspirin. It may be found in liniments (such as Ben-Gay) and is meant for topical use only. Ingesting just one teaspoon can be life threatening for a toddler.
- Nose sprays and eyedrops. These products (for example, Visine, Afrin) contain a medication thats related to Clonidine and can cause the same problems if ingested.
- Benzocaine. Used as a teething medicine (Orajel, Anbesol) or in anti-itch medicines (Vagisil). One teaspoon can affect the blood's ability to carry oxygen, causing your child to turn blue.