Ingestion of tea tree oil (Melaleuca oil) by a 4-year-old boy

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2003 Jun;19(3):169-71. doi: 10.1097/01.pec.0000081241.98249.7b.


A 4-year-old boy ingested a small quantity of tea tree oil. Within 30 minutes, he became ataxic and shortly thereafter progressed to unresponsiveness; he was endotracheally intubated by paramedics. His neurologic status improved gradually over 10 hours, and he remains well on follow-up. Tea tree oil is an increasingly popular topical antiseptic that is available in a wide variety of products, often without warning labels. Healthcare providers should be aware of the common uses of tea tree oil, as well as its potential toxicity.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Home*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Coma / chemically induced*
  • Confusion / chemically induced
  • Critical Care
  • Dyspnea / chemically induced*
  • Dyspnea / therapy
  • Emergencies
  • Gastric Lavage
  • Home Nursing
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal
  • Male
  • Medication Errors*
  • Poisoning / therapy
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Tea Tree Oil / poisoning*


  • Tea Tree Oil