More children than ever being accidentally poisoned by medicines in the home

According to new findings, unintentional poisonings caused by medicines are causing more visits to the emergency room than car accidents for young children. One reason why this may be the case is that approximately 1 in 4 grandparents admitted that their medicine was stored in ways that made them easy to access.

The study, performed by University of Michigan, a national poll about children’s health asked grandparents and parents of young children aged between 1 and 5 about how their medicines were stored and what medicines were kept in their homes.

Director of the Mott Children’s Hospital Children’s Health National poll about children’s health, Matthew M. Davis says that “Approximately every 10 minutes there is a child in the United States being taken into the emergency room for treatment because they have been accidentally poisoned by over-the-counter or prescription medication.”

“Over the last decade, emergency room visits due to accidental poisoning has become a lot more frequent. It is hoped that the recently published poll results will serve as a reminder to those who have young children in their care to check that medication is safely stored.

Medication should always be kept out of reach of children.” says Davis. Davis is also an associate professor of the Research Unit and Child Health Evaluation department at U-M Medical School.

23% of grandparents plus 5% of parents admitted they stored prescription medication in devices such as daily dose boxes which can easily be opened by children. 18% of grandparents surveyed and 8% of parents also said that they stored over-the-counter medication in spots that were easily accessible by children.

The most common prescription medication that’s accidentally ingested by young children are opiates including painkillers such as morphine. Over-the-counter medication that often results in emergency room trips for parents with young children is acetaminophen, a medicine used to lower fevers.

2/3 of adults also said they would support laws which required companies to produce single dose medication so it would be harder for their children to ingest dangerously large amounts.