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Despite Childproof Packaging, Kids Still at Risk for Accidental Poisoning

December 02, 2008 01:30 PM
by Emily Coakley
Though fatalities are down, accidental poisoning remains a top danger for children, according to a new report.

Pediatrics Article Details Poisonings

Nearly 100,000 children were treated for accidental poisoning in 2004, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“Despite advances in recent years and the decrease in unintentional fatal poisonings, unintentional child poisonings remain an important public health concern,” the report’s authors wrote in the journal Pediatrics.

The authors, Robert L. Franklin and Gregory B. Rodgers, suggest that more products have child-resistant packaging, since studies have shown such measures have “cut fatal and non-fatal poisoning rates by about 40 percent over the years,” Reuters said.

Some items, such as medication, must by law have child-resistant packaging; other items, such as household cleaners, do not. More than half of poisonings, though, came from items with required child-resistant containers, the report said. Medicines taken by mouth were the top offender.

The approaching holidays can also make the risk of accident higher. According to the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy’s Poison and Drug Information Center, “calls to the poison center increased by almost three times on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the days immediately before and after,” the University of Arizona News reported.

Jude McNally, the center’s director, explained some reasons for the increase on holidays to the University of Arizona News: “With family and friends visiting for celebrations, routines are disrupted and visitors may not be thoughtful about where they leave their over-the-counter and prescription medications. Parents need to pay extra attention to make sure drugs are stored safely and youngsters don’t accidentally sample them.”

The center recommends putting visitors’ bags and purses in closets or places where kids can’t get into them. Keep a closer eye on kids when visiting someplace new. Children love to explore new settings. Also, the center officials said, “poisonings often occur when medications are left out on counters and tabletops.”

Related Topics: Experiences with accidental poisoning

Amy Mae Borrelli, on her blog The Borrelli Household, wrote about having to call Poison Control for her toddler son twice within a few days. The first time, on Thanksgiving morning, he was playing in the room next to where she was when he drank some fragrance oil. The second time, on Monday, he ate Vick’s VapoRub and rubbed some of it in his eye when he was supposed to be taking a nap.
“I’ve never needed the number for poison control before in my life, until this week. Of course, with Henry, you would think I’d be prepared and have it on speed dial. Well, now I do,” Borrelli wrote. Besides a trip to the emergency room to make sure the VapoRub didn’t permanently damage his eye, the boy didn’t suffer any ill effects from the incidents.

On the blog Paramedic 134, an unnamed North Carolina paramedic wrote about treating an eight-year-old early Monday morning who ingested up to 100 generic Benadryl tablets.

“Take a normal dose of Benadryl and it’ll likely produce an amount of drowsiness/sedation along with it’s antihistamine properties; take an excessive amount—especially with kids—and they’ll go CRAZY. This might be interesting.”

The girl’s parents found her under her bed before they called 911. Paramedic 134 described her condition: “Our patient is fully awake but presents with incomprehensible speech, an inability to follow commands, and an overall agitated demeanor. Her vitals are all stable, skin is pink/warm/dry, pupils dilated.”

Once the girl was on the stretcher, though, she fidgeted, so it took the paramedic’s partner and a firefighter to hold the girl down so an IV could be started. After that, she didn’t give the paramedics too much trouble.

“She alternated between spurts of being agitated and just staring around the back of the ambulance on the way,” Paramedic 134 wrote. The post didn’t mention what happened to her after she arrived at the emergency room.

Reference: First Aid guide


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