Even parents who keep medicines out of their children's reach are at risk of an emergency.
The Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America notes that in 50 percent of all childhood accidental poisonings, the medication bottle was only "out" for a short amount of time as it was being used.
Here are some of the more common medicines that can lead to emergencies when accidentally ingested by kids:
- Heart Pills -- In children, they can cause dangerously low blood pressure and heart rate, and even lead to shock.
- Muscle Rubs -- Camphor is especially dangerous because ingesting it works so quickly; symptoms occur within 10-20 minutes, and often children can go into seizures without any warning.
- Prescription Pain Medications -- For an infant, even half a tablet of hydrocodone can be lethal.
- Aspirin and Oil of Wintergreen -- Oil of wintergreen is particularly hazardous because its pleasant smell tempts toddlers to ingest it, but one teaspoon of oil of wintergreen is the equivalent of nearly 90 baby aspirins -- a life-threatening dose for a toddler or child.
- Antidepressants -- After pain medications, antidepressants are the second highest cause of accidental death from poisoning in children younger than 6.
- Blood Pressure Patches, Eye Drops, and Nasal Sprays -- These medications, designed to be absorbed over time through your skin, can lead to serious consequences when ingested by a toddler. As little as 6 ml can lead to a coma.
- Diabetes Drugs -- As these medications are more commonly prescribed, the incidence of pediatric poisonings has also increased, with over 2,500 occurrences in the United States in 2001.