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Medicine Poisoning Sends Thousands of Kids to ER Annually [AUDIO]

More children are getting into medicine found at home, according to a report by Safe Kids Worldwide.

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Children Receive Emergency Care At Pediatric Hospital
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The report, Keeping Families Safe Around Medicine, finds that a poison control center receives a call about a potential medicine poisoning for a child age five and under every minute of every day, and young children visit the emergency room 64,000 times each year due to medicine poisoning.

In three out of four cases, the child got the medicine from a parent or grandparent, according to the report. Since 2005, there has been a 23 percent increase in the number of grandparents living with their grandchildren, and 13 percent of grandparents care for a grandchild on a regular basis.

“It’s known that older adults take more medications than younger adults and while parents and grandparents know to keep medications up and out of the reach of kids, grandparents may not always keep their medication in a child resistant container,” said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “They may put it in a daily pill counter or an easy to open container.”

According to the research, more than half of respondents said they would not think to call the Poison Help Number, but in seven out of 10 calls, the child can be treated at home with no trip to the emergency room needed. Nearly 500,000 calls are made per year to a poison control center.

“If you’re child is not in great distress — if they are breathing fine, call the number,” Carr said. “It can give you great information and you will know immediately what to do to take care of your child.”

The number is 1-800-222-1222.

So, what can you do to prevent medications from getting into the hands of your children? Carr said to take a look around your home.

“You’ll probably see that some things may be out either on a night stand, on a kitchen counter or even in a purse that should be tucked up and away,” Carr said. “You have to remember that it’s important every single time to keep medication up and away and out of the reach of children.”

For tips on safe storage, safe dosing and safe disposal of medicine, visit safekids.org.

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