Accidental Medicine Poisonings For Children Continue To Happen

Accidental Medicine Poisonings For Children Continue To Happen
Accidental Medicine Poisonings For Children Continue To Happen

Every day more than 300 children in the US ages 19 and younger are treated at the ER, and two children die as a result of being poisoned.

The CDC says in three out of five accidental poisonings involving children, the medication wasn't in its usual storage spot.

Mom and nurse practitioner Lindsay Jelsma tells it like it is. "Never trust a kid."

She says it out of love, hoping to save lives.

"Kids are super curious by nature: they love to climb, they love to act like adults, so they see you do it, they want to do it too."

If you are taking pills, it is likely your mimic. Research shows imitative behavior contributes to about 20% of poisonings in children under five.

"Some of them can be life threatening. Our poison control center on average get about one call a minute."

That's why Jelsma says it is important to keep your prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, eye drops, dietary supplements, and vitamins out of reach and out of sight. "In a drawer, in a cabinet."

Safe Kids Worldwide, conducting a 2017 study involving 2,000 parents, had a survey finding a striking gap between parent knowledge of medicine safety and their actions.

While about nine in ten parents agree it's important to store all medicine behind closed doors and up high, nearly seven out of ten parents didn't do so. What's worse, many parents are storing medicine in sight and out of its original packaging.

"What's scary too is not only parents can be really safe; what if you go to grandma and grandpa's house? They even leave their pills out, so it is either other locations: the babysitter, the friends, the child goes to the bathroom and they get curious."

Keep in mind: child resistant packaging makes it harder for children to open, but it isn't child proof.

"They see something, they want it."

Sometimes keeping a close eye on or talking to your child is not enough.

"Sometimes they forget about it, and sometimes, especially with medication, they don't understand the difference between what's safe and what's not safe when it comes to medicines."

The big takeaways are to store all medicine away and out of sight, keep them in their original child resistant packaging, and keep the Poison Control phone number in your phone and visible in your home. That number is 1-800-222-1222.