The University of Michigan Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health recently asked parents and grandparents of children ages 1-5 about the presence of medicines in their homes and how they are stored.
Twenty-three percent of grandparents and 5 percent of parents reported storing prescription medicine in easy-to-access places, contributing to child poisonings.
Dr. Matthew M. Davis, director of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health, said unintentional child poisonings from medicines cause more emergency room visits for young children each year than do car accidents.
The most common type of prescription in an accidental ingestion for young children is an opiate medicine, such as a morphine-related painkiller.
The most common types of over-the-counter medicines that prompted emergency room visits for possible poisonings among young children include acetaminophen, which is used to reduce fever, Davis said.
Requiring companies to create single-dose packages of tablets, capsules and liquid medicines would make it harder for young children to ingest large quantities, Davis suggested.
"The support for potential new requirements for single-dose dispensing of medicine in solid and liquid format is quite strong," Davis said in a statement. "However, there may be barriers to passage of such legislation -- not the least of which are environmental concerns about increasing packaging."
No survey details were provided.