Children's Emergency Department is now located in Children's Tower: 1001 E. Marshall Street.

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Poison center

24/7 Fast, free poison line:

Nine out of 10 cases are successfully treated via phone when called in immediately.

Your poison resource

Don’t spend time searching the internet for answers. The Virginia Poison Center is nationally accredited and designated by the Virginia Department of Health. Emergency phone lines are staffed by specially trained registered nurses knowledgeable about toxic substances and treatment for individuals exposed to potential poisons. Their expert assistance is available for free, 24 hours a day and is confidential. The center’s toxicologists also care for children in the hospital and ER.

For callers

When you call us, poison information specialists will assess the situation and provide first-aid instructions. In severe cases, we will refer you to the most appropriate health care facility.

Our poison specialists will ask you about:

  • Substance you’re calling about
  • How much was taken
  • When it happened
  • Symptoms
  • Treatments you already tried
  • Child’s medical history

Common call topics:

  • Medication overdose
  • Substance abuse or withdrawal
  • Ingestion of household cleaners
  • Pesticide exposures
  • Inhalation of gases or chemical fumes
  • Exposures to plants or mushrooms
  • Bites and stings

Care plans usually include careful observation, but may require the removal of poison and/or administration of antidotes.

What you should know about poisoning

  • Children rapidly develop the physical skills to explore their environment, so poison-proofing your home and their surroundings is very important
  • Not all exposures to potentially harmful substances result in poisoning
  • Most unintentional exposures in children can be safely managed if the Poison Center is called right away
  • Pediatric poisonings are often accidental and therefore preventable