Most small children who are poisoned by an adults prescription medication do not get it from a secured cabinet but rather from a purse, countertop, sofa cushion, floor or other easy-to-see place in the house.
The medications that are dangerous enough to send a child to the emergency room usually belong to a mother or grandparent according to a report released by the non-profit group Safe Kids Worldwide, based in Washington D.C.
Kids "are getting medications from Mom's purse and Grandma's pillbox," says Rennie Ferguson, a researcher for Safe Kids.
Ferguson examined 2,315 emergency department records on children 4 years old and under that were compiled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in 2011.
67,000 children visited emergency departments in 2011 after accidental exposure to one or more medications.
The report notes that such cases have grown by 30% in the last decade amid a growing number of prescription and non-prescription medicines in the home. While ER cases dropped slightly between 2010-2011, the difference was not statistcally significant.
Where are children finding unsecured medicines? When examining the cases, the researchers noted that when a source was recorded:
- 27% came from the floor or had been otherwise misplaced.
- 20% came from a purse, bag or wallet.
- 20% had been left out on counters, dressers, tables or nightstands.
- 15% came from a pillbox or bag of pills.
- 6% came from a cabinet or drawer.
- 12% came from other places.
The medications belonged to adults in 86% of cases, the report adds. Moms (31%) and grandparents (38%) were the most common sources.
Because small children tend to put anything and everything in the