They’re bite sized. They’re wrapped up in appealing little packages. They come in a rainbow of fun colors.
Sounds like I’m describing a kid’s candy-filled dream right out of a Willy Wonka story right?
Unfortunately THAT’S the problem.
What I’m actually talking about are prescription drugs.
But to the eyes of a young child there’s very little difference between a package of sweets and a package of pills. And, I’m sorry to say, that the proof’s showing up in hospital emergency rooms across this country.
Accidental drug exposures in kids skyrocketed
New research published in the Journal of Pediatrics has uncovered a disturbing trend that every parent and grandparent needs to be aware of.
Using data gathered from the American Association of Poison Control Centers researchers found that emergency room visits as a result of accidental drug exposures shot up 40% between 2001 and 2008.
Even more disturbing was that during the eight-year period the researchers focused on 453,559 of the potentially toxic poisoning cases involved pharmaceuticals and children five years old or younger.
Now with nearly half of American’s on a prescription drug these days… and over 30% of them on two or more… it’s, unfortunately, not hard to figure out why 55% of the poisonings involved a prescription drug.
66 children died as a result of prescription drug poisoning
But the devastating reality is that during that eight-year period sixty-six of those children ended up paying the ultimate price and are no longer with us.
Awareness is the path to beating this disturbing trend back into the shadows where it belongs.
Make sure that you’re keeping medications well out of the reach of children. An unattended pill bottle in a purse or a pillbox left on a kitchen counter can quickly turn into a disaster.
Be sure that everyone who cares for your child or grandchild…from siblings to babysitters…knows about the potential dangers also. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never given a thought to carting around a prescription bottle in my purse. But you better believe I will from now on.
“The Growing Impact if Pediatric Pharmaceutical Poisoning, The Journal of Pediatrics, published online September 16 2011