Nearly 1 in 4 grandparents store prescription medicines where children can easily find them

April 16, 2012, University of Michigan Health System

Unintentional poisonings from medicines cause more emergency room visits for young children each year than do car accidents.

One key reason may be that nearly 1 of every 4 grandparents says that they store in easy-access ways, according to a new poll.

The University of Michigan Mott Children's Hospital on Children's Health recently asked parents and grandparents of children aged 1 to 5 years about the presence of medicines in their homes and how they are stored.

"Every 10 minutes a young child in the U.S. is taken to the emergency room because of possible poisoning from swallowing a prescription medicine or over-the-counter medicine," says Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., director of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.

" for accidental poisonings among have become much more frequent in the last decade. We hope the results of this poll are a reminder to parents, grandparents and all those who care for young children: check around your homes to make sure that medicines are safely stored out of reach," says Davis, who also is associate professor in the Child and Research Unit at the U-M Medical School, and associate professor of Public Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

The poll results showed 23 percent of grandparents and 5 percent of parents reported storing prescription medicine in easy-to-access places, including daily-dose boxes that children can open. Eighteen percent of grandparents and 8 percent of parents said they store over-the-counter medicines in easily accessible spots.

The most common type of prescription in an accidental ingestion for young children is an opiate medicine, such as a morphine-related painkiller. The most common types of over-the-counter medicines that prompts visits for possible poisonings among young children include acetaminophen, used to reduce fever.

To keep children safe, parents and grandparents are generally urged to keep medicine safely out of reach of young children, in child-proof containers.

But the poll also found that about two-thirds of adults say they would support new laws that would require companies to create single-dose packages of tablets, capsules and liquid medicines that would make it harder for young children to ingest large quantities.

"The support for potential new requirements for single-dose dispensing of medicine in solid and liquid format is quite strong. However, there may be barriers to passage of such legislation – not the least of which are environmental concerns about increasing packaging," says Davis.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Number of older people with four or more diseases will double by 2035, say researchers

January 23, 2018
A study published today in Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, reports that the number of older people diagnosed with four or more diseases will double between 2015 and 2035. A third ...

Group suggests pushing age of adolescence to 24

January 22, 2018
A small group of researchers with the Royal Children's Hospital in Australia is suggesting that it might be time to change the span of years that define adolescence—from the current 10 to 19 to a proposed 10 to 24 years ...

Placental accumulation of flame retardant chemical alters serotonin production in rats

January 22, 2018
A North Carolina State University-led research team has shown a connection between exposure to a widely used flame retardant chemical mixture and disruption of normal placental function in rats, leading to altered production ...

Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

January 22, 2018
Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.