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Poisoned? The BfR app for emergencies

36/2018, 31.10.2018

New version provides further and detailed information on accidents involving children

What to do when a child has tasted a poisonous plant? The expanded BfR app "Poisoning accidents involving children" provides fast information on poisonous plants. In the new version, an official list of all poisonous plant species is included with illustrations for the first time (see Federal Gazette, 17th of April 2000). "The BfR app helps you to make the right decision in emergency situations and should be installed on smartphones of all parents and carers of small children," recommends BfR President, Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. Via the app, parents and carers can find out what symptoms of poisoning a plant may produce and what first aid measures are required. In this way, those involved in emergencies are well prepared and are given a direct connection to a Poison Centre in Germany. The number of accidents in Germany caused by the swallowing of potentially poisonous products and plants by children is currently estimated at more than 120,000 per annum. Many of these accidents could be avoided through prevention.

List of poisonous plant species (in german):


The BfR app is a preventive adviser and emergency helper at the same time. It is intended to convey knowledge to protect infants and small children from poisoning. The app contains recommendations on the one hand on how to avoid accidents, e.g. through the childproof storage of medicines, household chemicals and other products, while giving tips on the other which can save lives in an emergency. It can be accessed at all times from everywhere, no matter whether on a trip, in the playground or on a visit to grandparents. A Poison Information Centre can be called directly via the app in an emergency.

Severe cases of poisoning caused by plants are extremely rare. With poisonous plants with which the uptake of small quantities of toxin can lead to severe or lethal cases of poisoning, however, the correct response of parents and carers is of decisive importance. Plants of this kind are marked in the BfR app with the warning notice "Caution, extremely poisonous plant". Upon suspicion of oral intake (swallowing, chewing), a Poison Information Centre should be contacted immediately to discuss how to proceed further. If the child has ingested larger quantities, or symptoms of poisoning appear and a Poison Centre cannot be reached immediately, an emergency doctor should be called without further delay.

Once installed on a mobile phone, the BfR app can also be used without internet access and is available offline. It can be downloaded free of charge for the operating systems Android and iOS. The BfR app "Cases of poisoning in children" was published in August 2013 as the first of its kind and has already been installed roughly 190,000 times. This BfR app was awarded the German Prize for Online Communication in 2014 in the category "Mobiles and apps".

The BfR provides free info material to any interested parties, such as doctors’ practices and childcare centres which would like to draw attention to the BfR app "Cases of poisoning in children". The information material comprises posters and memo cards in business card format. The posters advertising the BfR app come in two different sizes (A2 and A3). Additional memo cards with or without display stands can be ordered as required through the BfR website, per e-mail or by post: Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung, Max-Dohrn-Str. 8–10, 10589 Berlin, Germany, E-Mail:

More information about the app and info materials is available at and (in german).

About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. It advises the Federal Government and Federal Laender on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.

This text version is a translation of the original German text which is the only legally binding version.


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