Risks for Children
**If someone collapses or stops breathing, call 911!
Children’s Exposure to Rodenticides
Kids and rat poisons do not mix. Unfortunately, these chemicals poison over 10,000 children across the U.S every year.
Young children, especially those under the age of 6, are at high risk of unintentional poisoning through ingestion. Kids’ curious nature and desire to stick everything in their mouths makes exposure to rodenticides a real danger.
Safe rodent control and preventative measures can help you keep rats and mice out of your home while protecting your little ones from rodenticide poisonings.
Rat & Mouse Baits: A Household Hazard
Residential use of rodenticides puts children at high risk of accidental poisoning in their own home. Rodenticide baits can be lethal for any mammal or bird that ingests them and are not only poisonous for rodents.
Rodenticide as usually formulated as baits that come in different colors and forms such as pellets, grains, and blocks (see picture of blue rodenticide pellets). Some baits also include flavorings such as fish oil and peanut butter.
As a result, all baits, especially the small and colored pellets, pose a high risk of poisoning for children who might mistake the bait for candy or food. It can be surprisingly difficult to keep these products out of the reach of children since baits – to be most effective – are usually placed on the floor, offering kids ready access.
**If someone collapses or stops breathing, call 911!
If a child swallows a rodenticide, the Poison Center recommends the following:
- Clear their mouth and give a small amount of water or milk to drink.
- Immediately call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.
- Have the rodenticide package or name of the active ingredient handy to relay to the poison control operator and medical personnel.
- If you suspect that a child has swallowed a rodenticide, check their mouth for bright colors as these poisons sometimes have indicator dyes that will leave a stain on the child’s mouth or hands.
For more information on poisonings, see the American Association of Poison Control Center’s Poison Prevention brochure.
Symptoms by Ingredient
|Sources: National Pesticide Information Center, US EPA Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings, and U.S National Library of Medicine- National Institutes of Health.|
|Brodifacoum, Bromadiolone, Chlorophacinone, Difethialone, Diphacinone (Anticoagulant)||Ingestion, inhalation, dermal||Anticoagulants do not have onset symptoms. Some symptoms might manifest days later and may include: blood in urine or stool, tendency to bruise easily and bleeding under the skin, confusion, lethargy, or altered mental status from bleeding in the brain, low blood pressure, nosebleed, pale skin, shock, and vomiting blood.
|Bromethalin (Non-Anticoagulant )||Ingestion, inhalation, dermal||Symptoms may include: headache, confusion, personality change, tremors, seizures, coma and marked respiratory depression.|
|Cholecalciferol (Non-Anticoagulant )||Ingestion||Symptoms are similar to hypercalcemia: anorexia, fatigue, headache, itching, and weakness.
- Polyneuropathy, a neurological disorder, has been reported after acute intoxication.
- Nausea, vomiting, constipation and diarrhea may be seen.
- Extreme depression, apathy, confusion, and fatigue may be associated with chronic excessive intake of vitamin D.
|Warfarin (Anticoagulant)||Ingestion||Anticoagulants do not have onset symptoms. Some symptoms might manifest days later and may include: blood in urine or stool, tendency to bruise easily and bleeding under the skin, confusion, lethargy, or altered mental status from bleeding in the brain, low blood pressure, nosebleed, pale skin, shock, and vomiting blood.
Additionally, poisoning by Warfarin may lead to bleeding pinpoint purplish-red spots.
|Zinc phosphide (Non-Anticoagulant)||Ingestion, inhalation||Some symptoms of exposure via inhalation may include: a cough, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting. Some symptoms of exposure via ingestion may include; abdominal pain, cough, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, labored breathing, nausea, unconsciousness, vomiting, uncoordinated movement, fatigue.|
The best way to prevent an accidental rodenticide poisoning is to eliminate the risk of exposure in the first place. Safe and cost-effective solutions can ensure that your home remains rodent-free and that your children stay safe.
Here are a few tips:
- Seal all gaps on the outside of your home and replace worn weather stripping on windows and doors to keep rodents out.
- Keep your outdoor space clean and organized ⎯ trim plants and trees and keep your trash cans tightly shut.
- Check your home for old rat and mouse poison baits that have been left behind from previous use or by a previous occupant.
For a detailed overview on traps and solutions, visit our Rodent Control page.
- Litovitz TL, et al. 2002. 2001 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers Toxic Exposure Surveillance System. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine 20:391–452; doi:10.1053/ajem.2002.34955
- Watson WA, et al. 2003. 2002 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers Toxic Exposure Surveillance System. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine 21:353–421; doi:10.1016/S0735-6757(03)00088-3.
- Watson WA, et al. 2004. 2003 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers Toxic Exposure Surveillance System. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine 22:335–404; doi:10.1016/j.ajem.2004.06.001.
- Committee on Injury V. 2003. Poison Treatment in the Home. Pediatrics 112:1182–1185; doi:10.1542/peds.112.5.1182.
- US EPA. 2013. US EPA Moves to Ban 12 D-Con Mouse and Rat Control Products.