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Ethanol intoxication in children: Clinical features, evaluation, and management

Carl R Baum, MD, FAAP, FACMT
Section Editor
Michele M Burns, MD, MPH
Deputy Editor
James F Wiley, II, MD, MPH


The evaluation and management of ethanol intoxication in children is discussed here.

Epidemiology, pharmacokinetics, estimation of toxicity, and toxic effects seen in pediatric ethanol exposure are discussed separately. (See "Ethanol intoxication in children: Epidemiology, estimation of toxicity, and toxic effects".)


A rapid overview provides an approach to ethanol intoxication in children (table 1).

History — It is important to rapidly determine if the "alcohol" ingestion is ethanol or one of the toxic alcohols (eg, methanol, ethylene glycol). (See "Methanol and ethylene glycol poisoning".)

Infants or young children who have ingested enough ethanol to cause a peak serum level ≥50 mg/dL (11 mmol/L) are at risk for profound hypoglycemia and require emergent evaluation. (See "Ethanol intoxication in children: Epidemiology, estimation of toxicity, and toxic effects", section on 'Estimation of serum ethanol'.)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 14, 2017.
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