What happens if you swallow bleach


Poisoning is a typical emergency in infancy. There are a large number of substances that can cause symptoms of intoxication in humans. Such substances are present in all households and are not always safely stored. Especially when children go on a discovery tour through the kitchen, room and garden from around the age of two, they are not yet able to assess the dangers. Children poison themselves from curiosity and ignorance. Here the responsibility of the parents is required, they have to inform the child early on of possible age-appropriate dangers.

Sources of danger

Dangers of poisoning lurk everywhere for children - especially between the ages of 2 and 4 years. Here are some examples:

Dangers in the kitchen and bathroom

  • Dishwashing liquid
  • washing powder
  • Laundry bleach
  • Disinfectants
  • Furniture polish
  • pipe cleaner
  • Stain remover
  • Stove and metal cleaners
  • Medicines, especially sleeping pills and sedatives, ointments, suppositories
  • shampoo
  • Hair setting
  • Hair dyes, hair bleaches
  • Hairspray
  • Deodorant spray
  • Nail polish and remover
  • Skin care products
  • Perfume
  • Hair remover

Hazards in living spaces

  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Cigarettes
  • Lighter fluid
  • Lamp oil

Hazards in basements, garages and other storage rooms

  • Colours
  • Paint thinner
  • Paint remover
  • Brush cleaner
  • Engine oil
  • petrol
  • petroleum
  • turpentine
  • Adhesives
  • Herbicides
  • Pesticides
  • Carbon monoxide from running engines or defective heating

Dangerous plants and parts of plants

  • Laburnum
  • Deadly nightshade
  • thimble
  • Monkshood
  • daphne
  • lily of the valley
  • liguster
  • yew
  • arnica
  • oleander
  • Dieffenbachia
  • lupine
  • daffodil
  • Meadow hogweed
  • Christmas star
  • Autumn crocus
  • Christ thorn


General symptoms of poisoning can occur as:


In addition to acute symptoms of intoxication such as unconsciousness, shock, cardiovascular arrest and respiratory arrest, long-term damage can also occur. Especially brain damage or nerve damage, liver and kidney damage should be mentioned here.
In the event of poisoning through gas accidents, there is always a risk of explosion to be considered (risk to the rescuers)!

Immediate action

Keep calm - don't panic!
Act carefully, not hastily!
Call the ambulance first, then seek advice from a poison control center.

What questions does the poison control center ask?

  • Who is affected? Child, adult?
  • What was ingested? Exact name of the product (what is on the package), company, name of the plant.
  • How much was ingested? How many pieces were in the pack? How much is left? What is the maximum amount the child can have ingested? How was it packaged?
  • How was it taken? Swallowed? Inhaled? Onto the skin? In the eye?
  • When was it taken? Secure time specification or guess?
  • How old is the child?
  • How much does the child weigh (approximately)?
  • How is the child To cough? Vomiting? Muscle twitching? State of intoxication? Drowsiness? Pain?
  • Name and phone number? For the call back.

Then carry out general first aid measures in the event of poisoning:

Help with vomiting

That means helping the patient not to inhale vomit. Under no circumstances induce vomiting!
Help with the patient lying down: Turn your head to one side, hold a container under your mouth with your free hand. Help with the seated patient: Bend your head forward while holding your forehead with one hand and hold a container close to your mouth with your free hand.

Repeated checks of consciousness, breathing and pulse

If unconscious: stable side position
If breathing has stopped: give ventilation
With cardiovascular arrest: chest compressions

The following initial measures depend on the poison and should only be carried out as directed by the poison control center! Possible measures are:

Ingestion of poison through the mouth

Dilute the toxins by drinking water, juice, or tea
In the case of foam-forming substances, apply a liquid defoaming agent (simethicone) as instructed
Binding of the poisonous substance through activated charcoal

Poison absorption through the skin

Completely undress the poisoned
Wash all affected skin areas with plenty of water
Wear gloves if possible

Toxic absorption through the respiratory tract

Bring the patient into fresh air, open windows and doors
Warning: the risk of self-poisoning is particularly great! Your own safety always takes precedence over the need for assistance! A handkerchief held in front of your mouth and nose does not help!
Bear in mind the risk of explosion!


  • Make children aware of the dangers in the home and garden at an early stage.
  • Keep your supply of toxic substances as low as possible! Only buy what is really necessary and dispose of what is no longer required in the hazardous waste! Look for non-toxic alternatives!
  • Keep dangerous substances out of the reach of children! Also, do not throw such substances in the trash can!
  • Always keep medication in a locked medicine cabinet! Think of medication lying around in case of illness in the family!
  • Never store poisonous substances next to food!
  • Never fill poisonous substances into beverage bottles or other food containers!
  • Do not leave shopping bags and handbags unattended (cigarettes, medication, household chemicals, perfume)!
  • Do not leave your child unattended when processing toxins such as paint or turpentine!
  • You should also attend a first aid course or refresh your knowledge regularly!
  • Have the numbers for the rescue coordination center and the poison control center ready on the phone just in case!