More Kids Accidentally Poisoned by Prescription Drugs

Playing kids

Thousands of kids in the US get admitted to hospitals because they accidentally poison themselves with prescription drugs, reveals a new survey. Kids with access to muscle relaxants, sleep aids and powerful painkillers poison themselves with these medications as they take them without permission or supervision. Health experts say this is an alarming development.

Keep Medicines Out of Kids’ Reach

Health specialists say these findings should remind parents of the importance of keeping medicines away from their children’s easy reach. The study was done by researchers from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center who gathered information from calls made to poison control rooms reporting accidental self-poisoning by children.

66 Deaths

From 2001 to 2008, around 544,000 hospital visits were made to treat accidental poisoning in kids younger than five. About 454,000 visits were due to the effects of a single drug. Though most kids were not severely affected, the poisoning still caused 66 deaths. These findings were published recently in The Journal of Pediatrics. During the study period, there was a 30% rise in the number of visits to ER due to accidental poisoning of children. Injuries and hospitalizations also increased due to this reason.

Dangerous Medications for Kids

The researchers reveal more and more people are storing prescription drugs including blood pressure and diabetes medications, and opioid painkillers at home. This has increased the probability of some of these medicines finding their way into children’s hands. The most dangerous medications for kids were sedatives, opioid painkillers such as oxycodone and heart drugs.

Parents are Complacent

Long-acting diabetes medications caused the most damage in kids as about 50% of the children who accidentally took these drugs were kept back for monitoring and 20% suffered a serious or moderate injury. The researchers opine that modern medications are more potent and a single dose can pose danger to kids. They blamed parents’ complacency for the increase in the accidental poisonings of children.

Call the Poison Control Center

Health experts reiterate the need to keep potent medications away from kids’ reach. Parents should do this after using the medicines each time. In case of accidental poisoning, you should immediately contact poison control at the number 1-800-222-1222. They can give expert advice on first aid and whether the kid needs to go to ER.

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