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Study: Medications Top Cause of Accidental Child Poisoning Deaths

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Since the late 1970s, the number of accidental child poisoning deaths has nearly doubled, a new study conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide has found.  In that same period of time, the number of overall poisoning deaths has fallen drastically, but 64 percent of the current number of deaths are due to the misuse of medications.

“About 165 kids — or roughly four school busloads of children — are seen in emergency rooms for medication-related treatment every day in the U.S.,” said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, in a statement. “Every one of those trips was preventable. We can and must do better.”

The group offered some safety tips to prevent medication-related poisoning, including:

  • Always put medicines and vitamins away after every use. Never leave them on the counter between dosings. Don’t be tempted to “keep them handy” in a purse, backpack, or briefcase, or in an unlocked cabinet or a drawer within a child’s reach.
  • Always read and follow label instructions when giving medicines to children.
  • Only use the dosing device that comes with the medication. Never use a household utensil, such as a teaspoon or tablespoon, to measure medication.
  • Up to 20 percent of pediatric poisonings involve a grandparent’s medication.9 Make sure that all medications in the child’s environment are stored out of reach and out of sight.
  • Program the nationwide poison control center number (1-800-222-1222) into your phones.

Image: Prescription drugs, via Shutterstock.

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