(ARA) - Every day in the United States, about 165 kids - or roughly four busloads of children - are seen in emergency rooms for accidental medication poisonings. Medications are the leading cause of accidental child poisoning deaths today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A new report by Safe Kids Worldwide found that the percentage of child-poisoning deaths due to medications has nearly doubled - from 36 percent to 64 percent - even though the death rate among children from poisoning overall has been cut in half since the 1970s.
The report offers several reasons for the increase in medication poisoning:
"More than 60,000 children are treated in emergency rooms each year due to accidental medication ingestion when they were unsupervised," says Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, who released the research. "Every one of those trips could have been prevented. We can and must do better to ensure parents, grandparents and caregivers have the right information when it comes to safely storing and dosing medication."
Among young children, 95 percent of medication-related poisoning visits to emergency rooms are caused by a child ingesting medication while unsupervised, and approximately 5 percent are due to dosing mistakes made by caregivers, according to published studies.
Safe Kids Worldwide recommends the following tips to protect young children:
For more helpful tips and to read the full report, "Safe Storage, Safe Dosing, Safe Kids: A Report to the Nation on Safe Medication," visit www.SafeKids.org.
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