At least Six Children Die Every Month Due To Poisoning

Cape Town, South Africa – ChildSafe South Africa, an injury prevention organisation, and the Poison Information Centre at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital are jointly issuing a plea to the public to heighten awareness of the seriousness of poison risks and the burden of poisoning incidents among children in South Africa.

According to the Global Burden of Disease project, troubling statistics indicate that South African children face twice the likelihood of dying from poisoning compared to the global average. The urgency of this issue cannot be overstated. Each year, over 70 children under 5 years of age, or at least 6 children per month, succumb to the consequences of poison ingestion—the vast majority of these deaths are preventable.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to the silent crisis poisoning presents in our society,” states Zaitoon Rabaney, spokesperson and Executive Director of ChildSafe South Africa. “It’s a matter of urgency that every household, community, and healthcare facility become vigilant in the fight against childhood poisoning.”

The Poison Information Helpline, which can be reached at 0861 555 777, provides a critical service, offering advice and assistance 24/7. The Helpline, provided by the Poison Information Centres at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and at Tygerberg Hospital, has become a crucial component in the effective response to poisoning emergencies.

“We’re committed to helping every caller with potentially life-saving information,” shares Dr. Cindy Stephen, Director of the Poison Information Centre at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. “Our collaboration with ChildSafe South Africa reflects our shared vision for a poison-safe nation.”

To tackle the issue of poison ingestion in children, both organizations emphasize the importance of collective effort and action. This includes strengthening resources for parents, caregivers, and health professionals on poison prevention and emergency responses, as well as lobbying for improved regulatory policies regarding hazardous substances in and around homes.

Additional details and resources are made available in this joint effort to protect our children from preventable injuries and deaths due to poisoning. For more information about the initiatives and how you can get involved, please visit ChildSafe South Africa’s website at and the Poison Information Helpline at 0861 555 777.

The time to act is now. Together, we can create a safer environment for our children and reduce the burden of poison in children in South Africa.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Zaitoon Rabaney, Executive Director, ChildSafe South Africa

Phone: +27 21 685 5208


Danielle Cargnelutti, Communications Officer, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital


Note to Editors: ChildSafe South Africa is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing and advocating against injuries of children. The Poison Information Helpline plays an indispensable role in poison management and prevention by providing expert advice and emergency support.