How to Handle a Child who has Swallowed a Mothball. Most mothballs contain Naphthalene as an active ingredient. Naphthalene is a highly toxic substance to humans and should never be used for anything other than moth control in articles of clothing that are sealed. The possible effects of inhaling or ingesting mothballs include kidney failure and liver damage. Fortunately, swallowing a mothball is rarely fatal.
Remain calm. Panicking in any situation like this makes it seem worse.
Have the child's age, weight and condition on hand. In addition, determine the product and its strength if you have the packaging.
Determine the time and amount swallowed if possible. This information along with a description of the symptoms helps the doctor determine treatment.
Call the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) at 1-800-222-1222 for specific instructions. After you give the center the above information, the operator can provide the best plan of action for handling the situation. AAPCC operates 24 hours per day, seven days a week. The center provides educational material about poison prevention, as well as treatment.
Take the child to the emergency room if you are unable to contact your physician or AAPCC. Take the packaging from the mothballs with you for doctors there to examine. The typical treatment for poisoning is to run a tube through the nose to the stomach and emptying the contents followed by placing activated charcoal in the stomach to absorb the poison.