One of the biggest threats to your child’s safety may be right under your nose; in a medicine cabinet or handbag. Meant to protect health, prescription meds are increasingly poisoning small children.
“The things kids want to get into are the things they see adults getting into. So you take your medicine everyday and they want to take their medicine everyday,” says Dr. Eric Jones, pediatrician on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
Little Zach moves like a flash when he’s motivated.
“It only takes one second to look away and he’s in a cabinet or a drawer so we always lock up anything he’s not allowed to be in,” says mom Beth Zimmerman.
A new study finds poisonings in children are increasing to match the rising rates of adult prescriptions. Including diabetes drugs, statins, beta-blockers; anything linked to rising health trends.
“Where I see a lot of those prescription overdoses happen is - they are playing around in mom or grandma’s purse and get a hold of somebody’s thyroid mediations,” says Dr. Jones.
More than 70,000 children in this country under the age of 18 go to the emergency room each year because of accidental medication exposure. Over a seven year span ER visits jumped 30%. Most at-risk are children under five.
It’s best to keep meds in their child-resistant packaging. Pill organizers are dangerously tempting. Also place drugs out of reach, out of sight and always dispose of outdated prescriptions.
“The expiration on those are not necessarily to remind you that it’s not effective. But they’re to remind you that the medicine should go away,” says Dr. Jones.
“It’s about being responsible, it’s about being diligent and it’s about doing it every day,” says Zimmerman.
A little prevention can keep little hands out of harm’s way.
View More Health Matters video segments atleememorial.org/healthmatters/
Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.
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