Childhood fatalities from unintentional poisoning are a substantial health problem in New Mexico, which ranks second in the nation in injury-related mortality rates. To determine the extent of poison-related mortality in children in this state, and to examine time trends and differences in mortality rates in New Mexico's American Indian, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white children aged 0 to 14 years, we analyzed vital records collected from 1958 to 1982. New Mexican children experienced higher mortality rates than US white children of similar age--approximately eight times higher for children under 5 years old. Of the three ethnic groups, American Indian children had the highest mortality rates from unintentional poisoning during the 25-year period. Children less than 5 years old were at the highest risk for poison-related fatalities among all three ethnic groups.