Keep Kids Safe from Medication Poisoning

Keep Kids Safe from Medication Poisoning

In every household, there are lots of things that catch the eye of curious kids. Brightly colored pills and can be very tempting. When young children accidentally take prescription or over-the-counter medicines, it can trigger a health emergency.

If you live in a multigenerational house or visit grandparents often, the risks can be even greater. Nearly one-third of accidental childhood drug poisonings involve grandparents’ medication.

A study leaving site icon reveals more than five children under the age of six are rushed to the emergency room every hour for accidental medical poisoning. That’s 130 children every day, and nearly 50,000 every year. Most of these cases involve one- or two-year-old children.

Why does this happen so often? Experts at Safe Kids Worldwide leaving site icon  note, “One- and two-year-olds are explorers. It’s part of their natural development to walk alone, stand on tiptoe, climb on furniture and turn over containers. All these behaviors can put a child at risk if medicine is left within sight on a low counter, nightstand or in a purse.”

Research shows half of all over-the-counter poisoning cases happen because a child climbed on a toy, chair or other object to reach medicine.

Even more sobering, Safe Kids Worldwide says “accidental medicine poisoning sends a child under six to the emergency room every nine minutes. And every 12 days, a child dies.”

Check out this infographic leaving site icon from Safe Kids Worldwide to learn more. 

Sources:  Five Kids Rushed to Emergency Rooms Every Hour for Medicine Poisoning, leaving site icon Safe Kids Worldwide, 2020; Every 12 Days a Young Child Dies of Medicine Poisoning, leaving site icon Safe Kids Worldwide, 2018; Medicine Safety and Children, leaving site icon MedlinePlus, 2023; What to Know About Storing Medicine, leaving site icon Safe Kids Worldwide, 2023; Poison Help, leaving site icon Health Resources & Services Administration, 2023

Originally published 3/3/2016; Revised 2021, 2023