30 children die every year in the U.S. from accidental medicine poisoning. The alarming rise of cases of child poisoning was highlighted in recent report by Portland’s KGW and Seattle’s KING5 news, which tells the story of a doctor whose toddler was poisoned by pills she mistook for candy while trick-or-treating in his office last Halloween.
New research on child poisoning from The Journal of Pediatrics shows a 22% uptick in the number of accidental drug poisonings in kids ages 5 and under.
Most injuries to kids came from prescriptions, and children are more likely to be poisoned by medicines than by other household substances.
For decades, there have been efforts to prevent medicinal poisoning and educate the public about the risks of pediatric pharmaceutical exposures, so why is the number of poisonings rising? Possibilities include the increase in the number of people on medication, and accessibility of medications in general – as many parents know, child-resistant bottles don’t help.
Let this serve as a reminder to all of us to dispose of old medicine safely. If you have small children, remember to talk to caregivers and relatives about keeping medicine out of reach of kids. And add this to your phone – it’s the national number for poison centers: 1-800-222-1222.