TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - All those medicines meant to make us feel better can be deadly if they end up in the hands of children.
Dr. Randy Schumacher with PediatricCare in Topeka says the CDC estimates 60,000 children under age 18 end up in the emergency room every year because of accidentally ingesting medications, be it prescription or over the counter.
Schumacher says the accidents might happen for any of several reasons. For example, parents might pretend medicine is candy to convince children to take it when needed, so they then might think an adults medicines on the counter are a treat instead of a danger.
The CDC and the group 'Protect' teamed up on a special web site to remind parents to put medications up and away and out of sight. It includes helpful tips, not just about your own home, but also for houseguests or when you go somewhere to visit. Schumacher says grandparents might leave their daily medications out on the counter for easy access or a visitor might leave their purse on the floor, the medications inside easily accessible to a curious child.
The danger isn't just prescription medications. Over the counter items like pain relievers, even vitamins, can be a hazard to young bodies. Schumacher says prenatal vitamins can contain a dangerous amount of iron for children and too much Tylenol or ibuprofen can affect the liver and kidneys.
Experts recommend programming the poison control number into your phone so you can take quick action if a child should accidentally take something. Schumacher says the sooner the child gets to the hospital and is seen, usually, the better the outcome.
You can check out the site at www.upandaway.org.