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Iron Poisoning in Children

Iron Poisoning in Children Overview

Please call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately for any suspected poisoning in children or adults.

Iron poisoning occurs when a person, usually a child, swallows a large number of iron-containing pills, most often vitamins.

Acute iron poisoning mainly involves children younger than 6 years who swallow pediatric or adult vitamins containing iron. These children may not be able or willing to tell you what and how much they swallowed.

Iron salt is available in multiple preparations. For instance, ferrous sulfate is available as drops, syrup, elixir, capsules, and tablets.

Iron preparations are widely used and are available without a prescription and may be contained in bottles with or without child resistant closures.

  • The amount of iron that will cause poisoning depends upon the size of the child. An 8-year-old may show no symptoms from an amount that would cause serious symptoms in a 3-year-old. Symptoms appear at doses greater than 10 mg/kg (based on the body weight of the child).
  • Iron is available in different oral forms.
  • A child may show no symptoms after eating a number of pills that might have looked like candy. The only evidence may be an opened vitamin bottle. If you know, or even suspect, that a child has eaten tablets, you should consult a hospital's emergency department or poison control center regarding a possible iron poisoning immediately.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/5/2014
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