By Ann J. Curley, CNN
It’s a stunning statistic: Each day roughly four school busloads of U.S. children — about 165 young kids — are seen in emergency rooms after getting into medications – and each visit is preventable.
Those are the findings revealed in a report by Safe Kids Worldwide, which unveiled a new initiative Tuesday called “Safe Storage, Safe Dosing, Safe Kids.” The campaign calls on caregivers, medical personnel, pharmacists, drug makers and government groups to work to reduce accidental poisonings of children from medications.
“This is a brand new initiative for Safe Kids, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of poison control centers and National Poisoning Prevention week,” says Safe Kids Worldwide president/CEO Kate Carr.
The report, which contains poisoning data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Association of Poison Control Centers, reveals that while overall U.S. poisoning deaths among kids plunged by half from 1979 to 2006 – the percentage of those deaths from medications — both prescription and over-the-counter products — has nearly doubled, jumping from 36% to 64%.
The skyrocketing trend is blamed on several factors, including more available and improperly stored medications in homes. Also, the report points to rising numbers of households with multiple generations – which increases child access to medications. Other reasons cited by the report include improperly coordinated medication dosing because of multiple caregivers, and unsupervised young children who love to put things in their mouths.