Toddler and Preschool  |  Infants  |  Pesticides and repellents

Mouse and Rat Poisons Anticoagulant Rodenticides

The Bottom Line

Pesticides to kill mice, rats, and other rodents can also harm humans (and pets). Anticoagulant rodenticides are often used. These can cause bleeding if they are eaten on a regular basis (for example, a child nibbling at a bait station).

The Full Story

Are they seeking warmth? Or food? Experts disagree. But mice and rats do try to come indoors when fall temperatures arrive.

To PREVENT rodenticide poisoning:

  • Make the area outside of your home unfriendly to rodents: keep trash covered, don't leave pet food out, be sure that plants and brush are not close to your exterior walls, and avoid feeding birds if rodents are a problem in your neighborhood.
  • Make it hard for rodents to enter your home: plug gaps around all exterior openings and use weather-stripping on doors and windows.
  • Keep the inside of your home as free as possible from food sources for rodents: keep trash covered, counters cleaned, dishes washed, and food stored in covered containers.
  • If possible, use traps instead of poisons to capture rodents.
  • If you find old mouse and rat poisons around your home or property, contact your county's hazardous waste disposal facility to find out how to get rid of them safely.
  • Choose a rodenticide that is designed for use at home: read the label to choose the right product for your pest problem, place it according to label instructions, and place bait and bait stations where children and pets can't see or reach them.

To TREAT someone who swallows a rodenticide:

  • Clear out the mouth and give a small amount of water or milk to drink.
  • IMMEDIATELY call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222. Poison specialists there will figure out if any treatment is needed and, if so, will tell you exactly what to do.

Rose Ann Gould Soloway, RN, BSN, MSEd, DABAT emerita
Clinical Toxicologist


For More Information

Let's talk about poisons infographic

Preventing and treating rodent problems (EPA)


References

Shepherd G, Klein-Schwartz W, Anderson BD. Acute, unintentional pediatric brodifacoum ingestions. Pediatric Emergency Care. 2002;18(3):174-178.

Spahr JE, Maul JS, Rodgers GM. Superwarfarin poisoning: a report of two cases and review of the literature. Am J Hematology. 2007;82:656–660.

Poisoned?

Call 1-800-222-1222 or

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Prevention Tips

If a rodent poison is needed at home, choose a rodenticide that is designed for use at home. Read the label to choose the right product for your pest problem, place it according to label instructions, and place bait and bait stations where children and pets can't see or reach them.

This Really Happened

An emergency physician called Poison Control about a 22-month-old boy who was brought to the hospital after eating an unknown quantity of rat poison containing brodifacoum (a long-acting blood thinner) 1-2 hours before. Poison Control recommended giving the child activated charcoal (similar to common charcoal but made especially for use as a medicine to prevent the absorption of ingested poisons) and checking baseline blood clotting studies. Since brodifacoum does not cause bleeding for many hours, Poison Control also advised rechecking the blood clotting studies at 24 and 48 hours after the ingestion. The initial partial prothrombin time (a test that measures the time it takes blood to clot) was abnormally prolonged. Poison Control advised the emergency physician to question the parents as to whether the child could possibly have been ingesting the rat poison on a chronic basis. The parents denied this, but reported that they did give the child herbal supplements that could have been related to this abnormal finding.  After 24 hours, with no bleeding and no change in his blood clotting studies, the little boy was sent home. In a Poison Control follow-up call to the home a few days later, the child's father reported that repeat blood studies were normal and the child had no evidence of bleeding.