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If you live in a multigenerational house or visit grandparents often, the risks can be even greater. Nearly one-third of accidental childhood drug poisonings involve grandparents’ medication.
A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that nearly 9,500 children ages five and younger are hospitalized each year when they accidentally take prescription medicine. Seventy-five percent of these cases involve one- or two-year-old children.
Why does this happen so often? Experts at Safe Kids Worldwide note, “One- and two-year-olds are explorers. It’s part of the natural development of children this age to walk alone, stand on tiptoe, climb up on furniture without an adult, and turn over containers to pour out the contents — behaviors that can put a child at risk if medicine is left within sight on a low counter, nightstand or in a purse.”
Research shows half of all over-the-counter poisoning cases happen because a child climbed on a toy, chair or other object to reach medicine.
Even more sobering, Safe Kids Worldwide reveals “accidental medicine poisoning sends a child under six to the emergency room every nine minutes. And every 12 days, a child dies.”
Check out this infographic from Safe Kids Worldwide to learn more.
Don’t rely solely on child-resistant caps to keep safe. The best way to prevent accidental poisoning is to keep medicine bottles where children can’t get them.
Follow these safety tips:
How do you protect your kids from poisons in your home?
Originally published 3/3/2016; Revised 2021
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