Toddlers overdosing from prescriptions

Dec. 13, 2011 at 11:09 PM
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ATLANTA, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- One of every 150 U.S. 2-year-olds visits a hospital emergency room each year for an unintentional medication overdose, federal health officials say.

Dr. Dan Budnitz, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Medication Safety Program, said the Consumer Healthcare Products Association Education Foundation and a coalition of partners began an educational program, "Up and Away and Out of Sight," to encourage parents to protect children from accidental drug overdose.

"Parents may not be aware of the danger posed by leaving medications where young children can reach them," Budnitz said in a statement. "In recent years, the number of accidental overdoses in young children has increased by 20 percent."

Parents are advised to:

-- Pick a place to store prescriptions in places children cannot reach. Find a storage place too high for a child to reach or see.

-- Put medicines and vitamins away every time you use them. Never leave medicines or vitamins out on a kitchen counter or at a sick child's bedside, even if you have to give the medicine again in a few hours.

-- Hear the click to make sure the safety cap is locked.

-- Never tell children that medicine is candy to get them to take it, even if the child does not like to take his or her medicine.

-- Ask house guests and visitors to keep purses, bags, or coats that have medicines in them up and away and out of sight when they are visiting.

-- Program the poison control number into home and cell phones 1-800-222-1222.

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