A woman has been charged with hitting a seven-year-old girl in the face and endangering her life by making her take a sedative.
The 33-year-old woman was arrested by officers from the Child Abuse Squad around 4pm on Friday.
A few hours earlier she had allegedly caused the child to become unconscious after giving her a substance, believed to be a sedative, on at least four occasions within a short space of time.
The girl was in a Newcastle hospital at the time, police said.
The woman is accused of hitting the little girl in the face on two occasions in May this year.
She has been charged with using poison to endanger life and two counts of common assault.
She was refused bail and is to appear at Newcastle Bail Court on Saturday.
A police spokesman was unable to say if the woman was the child's mother or why the little girl was in hospital in the first place.
The Child Abuse Squad is comprised of detectives who are specially trained to investigate crimes against children, including sexual assault, physical and emotional abuse and serious cases of neglect.
It works in partnership with the Department of Family and Community Services and NSW Health.