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Students, teachers mistake candy for medicine: study

October 19, 2011

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Cincinnati – More than 1 out of 4 children and about 1 out of 5 teachers found it difficult to tell the difference between candy and medicine, according to a study conducted by two seventh-grade students, who presented their findings Oct. 17 at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in Boston.

Thirty teachers and 30 kindergarteners were randomly selected and asked to identify items in a medicine cabinet that contained a mixture of 20 candies and medicines. Students correctly distinguished candy from medicine 71 percent of the time, and teachers successfully performed the same task 78 percent of the time, according to the researchers. Both groups most commonly mistook M&Ms for Coricidin, SweeTARTS for Mylanta, Reese’s Pieces for Sine-off and SweeTARTS for Tums.

Researchers recommend “interventions” to educate families about safely storing medicines in the home. The study was conducted at Ayer Elementary School in Cincinnati earlier this year.

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