More Children Seeking Emergency Care for Medicine Poisoning, Report Shows

Every eight minutes, a young child goes to the emergency room for medicine poisoning, a new report shows.
It happens about 67,000 times a year, representing a 30-percent increase over the past decade.
“Ask any parent, and they will tell you they store medicine where children can’t get them,” said Kate Carr, President and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “But they might not be thinking of pills stored in purses, vitamins left on counter tops or a diaper rash remedy near a changing table.
The report, released by the Today Safe Kids Worldwide, examined data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The increase in children being exposed to medicine poisoning “reflects the increase in medicines in the home,” a news release states. Eight out of 10 adults take either a vitamin or at least one medication every week, the report states. In more than 85 percent of cases where a child was taken to the emergency room for medicine poisoning, the medicine had belonged to an adult.
“Curious kids can get into trouble fast,” Carr said in the news release. “It only takes a few seconds for children to get into medicine that could make them very sick. Take a look around your house to make sure all medicine is up and away and out of sight.”
Safe Kids offers the following tips to prevent poisoning:
  • Keep medicine and vitamins out of reach and sight. In 67 percent of emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the medicine was left within reach of the child, such as in a purse, on a counter, or under a sofa cushion.
  • Do not leave medicine in a convenient place if it can be reached by a child.
  • Store rubbing alcohol, eye drops and gummy vitamins out of reach. Seemingly harmless products can be very dangerous.
  • Make sure guests in your home do not keep medicines in their purse, bags or coats where kids can reach them. In 43 percent of emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the child got into medicine belonging to a relative, such as an aunt, uncle or grandparent.
  • When you visit other places with your child, look around to make sure medicine is not within reach of your child.
  • Program the nationwide poison control center number, 800-222-1222 into your phone.

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