Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Children Under 5 Make Up the Bulk of Americans Treated in the ER After Swallowing Medications

Home sick today and popping medications, advil, and vitamins, gave me this chance to blog about Liz Szabo's recent piece in USA Today about child safety and medications.

According to Szabo, "Most such poisonings occur in 1- and 2-year-olds — an age group whose curiosity and climbing skills often outstrip their judgment — according to a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. About 90% of child poisonings happen in the home, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Thanks partly to better caps and packaging, child poisoning deaths have fallen by 80% since 1972.

And most people don't store medications properly, says Lara McKenzie of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. When people are sick with colds, they often leave cough syrups and other drugs by the sink. More and more people also now request "easy open" caps on bottles or day-of-the-week pill organizers, Casavant says. That can be especially dangerous when children get into a grandparent's open purse or begin exploring her house."

"Experts offer these tips to keep children safe:
•Properly dispose of unneeded or expired medications, advises the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
•Don't take medications in front of children, which may inspire them to try to imitate you, Casavant says. Tell children never to take medication unless you give it to them.
•Never refer to pills as candy.
•Because children can sometimes open child-resistant caps, keep medications out of sight, out of reach and in a locked container.
•Keep the national poison control center number — 800-222-1222 — on or next to all of your phones."