Written By Jessica Ryen Doyle for Fox News
Children reporting to the emergency room for medicinal ingestion is up more than 30 percent in the past decade, according to SafeKids Worldwide, a non-profit organization that works with 600 coalitions in the United States with partners in 23 countries around the world.
Children are swallowing the wrong dosages of medications because adults are making it too easy for kids to gain access to these medications, said Kate Carr, president and CEO of SafeKids. More often than not, pills are being left in pill boxes (which are not child-resistant), on countertops and dressers or purses within reach of even the youngest kids.
And small children are not only curious about these medicines – they want to imitate adults, which is why they end up taking the medicine in the first place, she told FoxNews.com.
SafeKids Worldwide collected data from a variety of sources. It looked at Consumer Product Safety Commission data and examined narratives from many hospitals regarding children ages 4 and younger during the year 2011.
In addition, SafeKids analyzed data from Poison Control Centers and found more than 500,000 phone calls from parents and caregivers regarding questions about kids (ages 5 and younger) linked to accidental medicinal poisonings.
“That’s a big number,” Carr said about the phone calls.
The study also looked at 10 focus groups, comprised of mothers and sometimes grandmothers, to understand why this number had spiked.
The results, which were released Wednesday for National Poison Control Week, were astonishing:
“We found while parents understand that medicine should be up and away, kids are getting into medicine. Eighty-six percent of ER visits were due to the child getting into an adult’s medicine,” Carr said. “It could have been a parent or a grandparent, or an aunt or an uncle.”
Carr said kids have easier access to medications these days – they are carelessly being left where kids can reach them, sometimes kids are even finding them on the floor, and of course, “kids put everything in their mouth.”