During recent years, more and more children have been found to accidentally ingest their parents’ prescription medicine, according to a U.S. study.
The study covered the period of 2001 to 2008, and took into account the number of children aged five years old and below being admitted to the emergency room. A 36 percent rise in admissions and a 28 percent rise in accidental exposure to medication were observed. In general, there has been a 101 percent increase in the amount of department visits for ingestion of prescription opioid painkillers.
Powerful drugs such as painkillers and sedatives such as muscle relaxants and sleep aids were included in the ingested types of medicine.
Says Dr. Randall Bond, emergency medicine physician at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, “"The problem of pediatric medication poisoning is getting worse, not better.”
While 544,000 among the kids were successfully discharged, there were still 6 recorded deaths.
Parents are urged to be more cautious when storing their medicines, keeping them in childproof containers and storage locations, but the even greater urgency is for a repackaging of the design to prevent self-ingestion. Said Bond to LiveScience.com, "Prevention efforts of parents and caregivers to store medicines in locked cabinets, or up and away from children, continue to be crucial. However, the largest potential benefit would come from packaging design changes that reduce the quantity a child could quickly and easily access in a self-ingestion episode, like flow restrictors on liquids and one-at-a-time tablet dispensing containers."