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Child deaths from poisoning nearly double in 30 years: report

March 28, 2012

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Washington – The percentage of all child deaths in the United States due to medication poisoning climbed to 64 percent in 2006 from 36 percent in 1976, according to a report (.pdf file) released March 20 by Safe Kids Worldwide.

Medications are the leading cause of poisoning deaths among children younger than 14, with 56 children dying from an unintentional medicine-related poisoning every year, the report stated. Every day, roughly 165 children visit an emergency department after taking medicines on their own, researchers found.

Approximately 95 percent of medication-related poisoning visits to emergency departments happened because children were left unsupervised, while 5 percent of medication poisonings occurred when caregivers made dosage mistakes, according to a Safe Kids press release.

Researchers recommend parents and guardians carefully store all medications and know who to call in the event of a poisoning.

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