Activated charcoal, a poison antidote used in emergency rooms for decades, can be easily used in children at home and may help prevent a trip to the hospital. The substance is a fine powder form of processed charcoal that binds to many types of poisons and can keep them from being absorbed into the bloodstream. Stocked by some pharmacies, it can be mixed at home with water, juice or soft drinks, and also comes pre-mixed with water.
Charcoal is considered more effective for a broad range of household items including certain cough medicines, painkillers and disinfectant cleaners. Home use of activated charcoal has been limited because many parents don't know about it or are uncertain how to administer it. Study found that parents could successfully use activated charcoal at home.
Greater efforts need to be put into educating parents about the need to stock activated charcoal in the home in advance of a poisoning. Pharmacists and pediatricians, too, should be made aware that the activated charcoal can effectively used at home.