Dr. Elizabeth Orton of the University of Nottingham said primary care physicians need to warn parents about safely storing medicines and other hazardous household products in an effort to cut the number of poisonings among pre-school children.
"Poisoning can cause significant harm to young children and distress to parents, yet it is preventable. It is important that doctors and other healthcare professionals identify children at highest risk of poisoning and target prevention efforts to those families," Orton said in a statement.
"Parents also need to be aware that it is normal for young children to put objects into their mouth, so it is vital that medicines and other poisonous substances such as cleaning products or cosmetics are stored out of reach, ideally above counter height and in cupboards with a door catch or lock."
The researcher analyzed data studied data from children age 5 and under, born between January 1988 and November 2004, from the Health Improvement Network database of 3.9 million British patient records.
The study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, found toddlers ages 2-3 were nearly 10 times more likely to be poisoned by taking medication, possibly because they are at an age where they naturally begin to imitate the behavior of adults around them.
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