Accidental child poisonings still a major problem

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Despite safety advances in product packaging, tens of thousands of U.S. preschoolers visit the emergency room each year for accidental poisonings from medications, supplements and household products, researchers reported Monday.

Investigators with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in Bethesda, Maryland, found that in 2004, more than 86,000 children younger than 5 years old were treated in an ER for an accidental poisoning. In more than half of those cases, the child ingested a product that, by law, must have child-resistant packaging.

The findings suggest that the design of such packaging could be improved, the CPSC researchers report in the journal Pediatrics. The investigators also advise parents to keep all potentially toxic substances out of the reach of children, whether the packaging is child-resistant or not.

A range of potentially toxic household substances are required to have child-resistant packaging — including prescription oral drugs, some common over-the-counter medications (like aspirin and other painkillers) and certain household products, such as lighter fluid, paint solvents and antifreeze.

However, many other potentially dangerous household staples do not fall under this regulation. These include detergents and other cleaning products, personal care products, and many non-prescription medications and supplements.

In the current study, the federal researchers found that 55 percent of child poisonings involved a regulated product — most often an oral medication. In cases where an unregulated product was the culprit, cleaning products were most commonly involved.

“Despite advances in recent years and the decrease in unintentional fatal poisonings, unintentional child poisonings remain an important public health concern,” write CPSC investigators Robert L. Franklin and Dr. Gregory B. Rodgers.

But while child-resistant packaging is obviously not foolproof, the researchers note, studies show that such packaging has cut fatal and non-fatal poisoning rates by about 40 percent over the years.

That suggests that adding safer packaging to currently unregulated products could help further reduce child poisonings, according to Franklin and Rodgers.

Still, they add, child-resistant packaging alone is clearly not enough. For one, “child-resistant” is not the same as “child-proof,” and some children will be able to open the products.

“Parents and caregivers,” the researchers write, “should always be encouraged to keep toxic substances out of the reach of children, even when they are already in child-resistant packaging.”

SOURCE: Pediatrics, December 2008.

Source

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Related Posts:


By Martha Graybow NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two public advocacy groups sued the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on Thursday, saying the commission is acting unlawfully by not planning to fully implement a new ban on toys containing toxic chemicals. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan says that, contrary to a new ban that

Full Post: Consumer commission sued over chemicals in toys
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Vicks VapoRub, a common cold remedy, can cause respiratory distress in children under 2 when inappropriately applied directly under the nose, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday. They said using the Procter & Gamble Co product in this way can cause a young child’s tiny airways to swell and fill with mucus,

Full Post: Vicks VapoRub can harm children under 2
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Amy Norton NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Many people may be surprised by the number of chemicals they are exposed to through everyday household products, a small study finds, suggesting, researchers say, that consumers need to learn more about sources of indoor pollution. In interviews with 25 women who’d had their homes and bodies tested for

Full Post: Pollution at home often lurks unrecognized
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Some children showing up in emergency rooms with overdoses of cough or cold syrup may have been intentionally medicated to keep them quiet, doctors cautioned on Thursday. An analysis of 189 children who died from medication overdoses showed a significant percentage appeared to have been intentionally overdosed,

Full Post: Some cough medicine overdoses deliberate: report
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

HONG KONG (Reuters) - South Korean scientists may have found a way to remove dangerous heavy metals such as lead from blood by using specially designed magnetic receptors. The receptors bind strongly to lead ions and can be easily removed, along with their lead cargo, using magnets, they wrote in an article in Angewandte Chemie International

Full Post: South Korean experts find way to remove lead from blood

Site Navigation

Most Read

Search