According to a new CDC report, unintentional access to pharmaceutical drugs (whether prescription or over-the-counter) accounted for more than 1.3 million incidents of accidental chemical or substance exposure in 2003 alone.
More than 42 percent of those exposures involved children under age 6, based on reports from poison control centers.
More Than 50,000
An analysis of exposures from 2001-03 data collected via hospital emergency departments found more than 50,000 children were treated annually for accidental exposure to medications. 72 percent of these cases involved kids between ages 1 and 2.
Pill Boxes or Purses
One common reason is that many parents remove the medications from the child-proof containers; instead, they are left in accessible areas such as pill boxes or purses.
When I told you about the five ways to protect your children from accidents that inevitably occur around the house or outdoors, this is one I wasn't thinking of.
It's bad enough that children and infants are overprescribed medications specifically meant for them; accidental exposure to drugs never meant for children can have completely unknown effects. Scientific studies continually support the wisdom of limiting exposures to "foreign" substances for children, including synthetic chemicals -- which includes drugs.
Along with immune system development, your child's nervous system continues to develop well into their seventh year of life. With the recent epidemic increase in the rates of
it would seem prudent to nurture and protect your child in every way possible.
Even drugs intended for children can have side effects as horrifying as suicidal tendencies and blindness. Drugs that have never been tested on children could have even worse effects. Play it safe; limit your child's exposure to drugs, and make sure that any prescription your child gets is absolutely, absolutely necessary.
However there is a VERY important lesson here. If you are an adult who takes medication and have removed the child proof cap for convenience you could have created a potential fatal accident waiting to happen if you have any children visit you.
If you have to use drugs for any reason and have children who live or visit with you, it is absolutely imperative NOT to leave the drugs outside of their container or leave off the child-proof cap, unless taking the entire bottle of pills will not harm the child.
And, you already know that's highly unlikely, as drugs are potentially toxic Band-Aids that, in no way, shape or form, treat the underlying causes of disease.