More than 1.3 million calls are made to poison centers in the US and more than half of them are about kids come from kids who suffer from unintentional poisoning. While those numbers are alarming, a new study reveals that teens are also at risk for unintentional medicine poisoning.
According to the study, Medicine Safety for Children: An In-Depth Look at Calls to Poison Centers, the percentage of 15 to 19-year olds experiencing a serious outcome is six times greater than the percentage for 1 to 4-year olds.
The study, conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide in association with the American Association of Poison Control Centers, analyzed more than 547,000 calls to poison centers to better understand what types of medicine little kids and teens are getting into and how it happens.
Teens in charge of managing their own medicine can make mistakes. There are more than 10,000 emergency department visits a year for medicine overdose by adolescents self-administering over-the-counter medicine. Examples include forgetting to take medicine and then doubling up, taking two medicines with the same ingredient, and taking the wrong medicine.
Medicines used to treat mental health conditions or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are ranked high in calls to poison centers.
The most common medicines children under age 4 get into are ibuprofen, multivitamins and diaper care and rash products. These everyday over-the-counter items can be very dangerous if they are taken the wrong way.
"I encourage everyone to program the Poison Help line into your phone, 1-800-222-1222. This is a tremendously valuable service: it's free, it's available 24/7, and you will be talking to the nation's poison experts. It's far better than going online to find help," said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide.
"Emergency clinicians and pediatricians rely on poison center professionals to help treat their patients. In fact, about 20 percent of all poison center exposure calls come from health care providers. It's good to know that expert help is just a phone call away when the unthinkable happens," said Stephen T Kaminski, The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) Executive Director.