Nowadays, parents are smart enough to keep household medicines out of the hands of young children.
A new U.S. government study finds that fewer kids are winding up in emergency rooms for accidental poisonings involving commonly used medications.
"We think these declines are real," said lead researcher Maribeth Lovegrove, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's division of healthcare quality promotion.
Around 640,000 children aged 5 and younger were seen in emergency rooms for ingesting drugs between 2004 and 2013. In this, 70% were 1- or 2-year-olds, and nearly one in five were hospitalized.
The number of pediatric emergency room visits increased during the early 2000s, (76,000 in 2010), but considerably declined (around 59,000 visits) in 2013.
However, the study notes that 59,000 visits a year for young children is still too many.
"Innovative approaches, such as improved safety packaging and targeted educational messages, may be needed to continue or even accelerate this decline," she said.
The report will appear in the October print issue of the journal Pediatrics.
The CDC found that between 2010 and 2013, about 91% of emergency room visits involved ingestion of one medicine. Nearly half involved prescription pills, tablets or capsules. Almost a quarter involved over-the-counter pills, tablets or capsules. In addition, about 12 percent involved an over-the-counter liquid medicine, such as cough syrup.