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Medicine-related child poisonings on the rise: report

March 26, 2013

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​Washington – More than 67,000 children 4 and younger were treated in emergency departments for medicine poisoning in 2011, a 30 percent increase over the past 10 years, according to a new report (.pdf file) from Safe Kids Worldwide.

The report draws on data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. Almost half of the fatal poisonings involved over-the-counter and prescription medications, the report found.

The vast majority of emergency department visits involved a child ingesting adult medicine, most of which belonged to a grandparent (38 percent) or mother (31 percent). Cabinets were the least likely place for a child to find medication. The most common places for a child to find medicine were on the ground/misplaced (27 percent), in a purse/bag/wallet (20 percent), on counters (20 percent) or in pillboxes (15 percent).

Safe Kids recommends keeping medicine in child-resistant packages and storing them where children cannot see or reach them. 

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