What kind of medical-supervised emergency would require giving a 4 year old an alcoholic beverage?
The ingestion of antifreeze = a true emergency.
One "lick or taste" can kill a child and more than "a mouthful" can kill an adult.
Years ago, I had one of my cats lick an unknown quantity of antifreeze that my wife had just spilled; he got to it before my wife could clean it up. It has a sweet aroma and taste--so it is attractive to animals and children.
Took him to the vet right away--he survived.
Licking up 5 tablespoons can kill a medium sized dog.
Toxic and irreversible effects can occur within 30-60 minutes.
Antifreeze (ethylene glycol) itself isn't fatal (but it is an intoxicant); however, its byproducts are fatal.
Antifreeze is broken down in the liver by alcohol dehydrogenase
Ethylene glycol --> glycoaldehyde --> glycolic acid --> glyoxylic acid --> oxalic acid.
The accumulation of toxic metabolites is responsible for the potentially fatal acidosis and renal failure.
Ethanol "therapy" at sufficiently high concentrations saturates alcohol dehydrogenase, preventing it from acting on ethylene glycol, thus allowing the latter to be excreted unchanged by the kidneys. A modern, and safer, alternative to ethanol therapy is fomepizole, or 4-methylpyrozole.
Needless to say, do not try to manage antifreeze poisoning at home.
Call the National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) and get the poisoned individual to the ER (or Vet) immediately.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11434452http://www.aafp.org/afp/2002/0901/p807.htmlhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethylene_glycol_poisoning