60,000 kids poisoned by medicine: Avoid a trip to hospital

A new study offers a strong reminder to parents to keep all medicines out of your child’s reach. The number of kids accidentally poisoned can fill 4 school buses a day! Nearly every minute in the United States someone calls a poison control center because a child got their hands on some kind of harmful substance.

Medics rush roughly 60,000 kids to the hospital each year because they got into medicine not intended for them. That number comes from a new study done by Safe Kids Worldwide. They surveyed thousands of parents with kids under the age of 6. The report shows there is a disconnect between what parents know and what they do. 9 out of 10 parents say they know they should store medicine out of their child’s reach. Yet, 7 of 10 admitted, they do not do that. Many parents leave medicine on kitchen counters, sinks and shelves that they think are too high for their little ones to grab.

News 2’s Ashley Yost talked to Dr. Keith Borg M.D., PhD. Borg is an Associate Professor of Pediatric and Adult Emergency Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. He says, simply keeping medicine away from your child, is not sufficient. “Kids are explorers. Kids explore everywhere and they want to get into everything. It’s part of their nature. Unfortunately, that natural curiosity is a huge life threat with young kids with medicines.”

He says; do not be fooled by child proof packaging. “We see kids get into anything. I’m a little dubious that anything is child safe.”

Prescription drugs are obviously the most destructive, but vitamins, supplements and over the counter medicines can be dangerous also.

“One of the most medicines that we are actually concerned about is Tylenol. With Tylenol, an overdose can be extremely dangerous and is one of the leading causes of liver transplantation in this country,” says Dr. Borg.

Here is what you can do to prevent a trip to the hospital

Keep all prescription and over-the-counter medicines out of reach and out of sight of children, preferably in a locked container or cabinet
Remind guests to put purses and bags that might contain medication up high, not on couches or the floor
Set an alarm on your phone as a reminder to take medication multiple times a day, rather than leaving it on the counter for convenience

If your child swallows medication and he/she is unresponsive or having trouble breathing—call 911 immediately. In less severe cases, call poison control at 1-800-222-1222. Safety experts recommend posting that number near home phones, and adding it as a contact in your smartphone.

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