1 in 4 grandparents keep meds where kids can reach them

A new poll shows nearly one in four grandparents say they store prescription medicines in places that can be accessed by children. Unintentional poisonings cause more visits to the emergency room for young children — one every 10 minutes — than car accidents, to say nothing of the threat of theft, a factor in the prescription-drug epidemic that is killing more Kentuckians than such accidents.

The most common type of prescriptions that are accidentally ingested are opioids, the poll found. The most common type of over-the-counter medicine ingested is acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, reports research-reporting service Newswise.

The poll found that 23 percent of grandparents and 5 percent of parents store prescription meds in easy-to-access places. Eighteen percent of grandparents and 8 percent of parents said they store over-the-counter medicine in easily accessible spots.

“Emergency room visits for accidental poisonings among young children have become much more frequent in the last decade,” said Matthew Davis, director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. “We hope the results of this poll are a reminder to parents, grandparents and all those who care for young children: check around your homes to make sure that medicines are safely stored out of reach.” (Read more)
Though the numbers are on the rise, on the whole, American children are safer than they ever were, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate of death from unintentional injuries dropped 29 percent from 2000 to 2009. Deaths dropped from 12,400 in 2000 to about 9,100 in 2009.
Poisoning death rates rose dramatically, however‚ going up 91 percent in youths aged 15 to 19, “a byproduct of the rising prescription-drug abuse among teens who either obtain the pills illegally or swipe them from medicine cabinets of their parents or others,” reports Timothy Martin for The Wall Street Journal. (Read more)
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