I have a story about 75% finished and in it a youngster kills a baby by putting valium in her bottle (it doesnt sound a nice subject - but it must be read in context to understand how and why it comes about). I need to know could valium kill a baby? How many tablets would it need? I'm scared of asking a medical professional in case they think I'm planning to do it.
I think this is one of those situations where, if this is a fictional story, then the truth doesn't matter. For the purposes of your story if you make it convincing enough then that's all you need to do as most readers wouldn't know the truth either. Hope this helps. As for the number of tablets don't include it. It's not a recipe and it would depend on the tablet strength anyway. You must step back from being too prescriptive and focus on the story,
Edited by TassieDevil at 31/12/1899 04:21:00 on 17 June 2015
That's useful advice. I did say how many my character used but as it's not necessary I will change it. I say Valium in my story because that's what the baby's mum uses recreationally. I remember uppers and downers when I was a kid and I think the downers were blue pills. My research (i.e google) leads me to understand these were Valium. I may just change it to 'downers' or 'small pills' in the story, the child who poisons the baby is only six years old anyway and wouldn't know what they are exactly. He just wants a fractious baby to sleep better with tragic results.
My suggestion, too, would be not to be too precise about this. It's the sort of theme where I tend to avoid being completely accurate when I'm writing, as I wouldn't want to find that I'd inadvertently provided a lunatic with a prescription for committing some atrocity. I would err between mild inaccuracy and a vague description which simply hinted at what might have been done.
Having said that, I think it's pretty likely that a "safe" adult dose of any kind of medication would be an overdose for a baby. Even with fairly safe medications like paracetamol, the child dose is lower than the adult one. I think dosages in general go by body mass (as, for example, when a vet prescribes medications for a dog or a cat). A baby, being of much smaller body mass than an adult, would reach a safe level of dosage within its bloodstream with a much smaller amount of the drug than an adult would (at a guess, a baby is about 1/10 to 1/7 of the mass of an adult). I can also say for certain that, when a vet puts an animal down, s/he does so by administering a massive overdose of anaesthetic (which works in a matter of seconds - I've unfortunately had to have 3 animals put down, so I've seen it work).
I have no medical qualifications, but the above is a reasonable conclusion based on what I know of chemistry and what I've experienced with taking animals to the vet.
I didn't answer the question that the thread title poses, did I?
For my money, you need to treat what the internet says with a large pinch of salt, and research widely. The risk is that, if you're not careful, the advice you're getting is no better than you'd get from a bloke in the pub. Furthermore, it has the added disadvantage that you can't see the person who's giving the advice, or even tell whether they are the gender they claim. You can't easily judge how likely it is that any piece of advice you find is correct, or whether the person giving it even knows about the subject they're offering advice about. You're not necessarily safe even if you stick to forums which purport to be authoritative about the subject you're researching, as there a plenty of people even on those who will tell you, well, "merde de toreau," whilst sounding utterly knowledgeable.
Example: I often use stackoverflow.com in my day-job, and I've seen and experienced plenty of "advice" which has turned out to be rubbish. That and lots of people who respond to a query with something along the lines of, "Why do you want to do that, then?" or "Why don't you do this instead?" Not very helpful.
I agree there is a load of bull plop out there. As advised I'll be vague and not mention what the drug is. Thanks for all your help. I appreciate it.