In 2014, pharmacists filled over four billion prescriptions, which is 125 prescriptions filled every second. Each year, over 59,000 young children are treated in the emergency department (ED) because they ingested some type of medication. Ninety-five percent of those ED visits are children under the age of five.
- Store all medication out of reach and out of sight.
- Child proof lids are not a feasible prevention strategy for children.
- Check all products that may cause harm, even those that might not be medication.
- Use a dosing device that comes with the medication, especially when providing medication to children.
- Write clear instructions for others who may need to administer medication to your child.
- Save the Poison Help Hotline number in your phone and in an accessible area in your home, (800) 222-1222.
Electronic Cigarette Poisoning
Electronic cigarette (EC) aerosol is not harmless water vapor; EC contains nicotine, and propylene glycol (or glycerin) for vapor production and flavoring. Only 6 milligrams of liquid nicotine are toxic to children. On average, liquid nicotine refill bottles contain 10-70 milliliters of fluid, which can contain a range of 6 milligrams per milliliter to 30 milligrams/milliliter of nicotine.
The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate ECs, health complications are unknown and ECs contain a small percentage of cancer-causing substances. The American Association of Poison Control Center released data stating, “Poisoning incidents involving electronic cigarettes and liquid nicotine jumped 156 percent from 2013 to 2014.” In December 2014, the first fatal poisoning from liquid nicotine ingestion occurred with a one-year-old child in New York State. Several states allow children under the age of 18 to purchase electronic cigarettes legally, including: Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon and Pennsylvania, as does the District of Columbia. The 43 other states have laws banning the sale of electronic cigarettes and other devices to minors.
Electronic cigarette liquid refills are poorly regulated, distributed without child-protective packaging, with inadequate labeling and with questionable quality of control of ingredients. Many contain high amounts of nicotine, are typically flavored and in colorful containers, which can be enticing to young children. Recommendations are to restrict the visibility and access to such products in the home. As with all household poisons, store electronic cigarette devices and liquid refills out of the reach of children.
Liquid Laundry Packet Safety
Currently, 20 percent of U.S. households are using liquid laundry packets. Parents need to be aware of this emerging risk for children. Between 2012 and 2013, more than 700 children 5 and under experienced serious health effects via poisoning from liquid laundry packets, with the impact greatest among 1 and 2-year-olds. The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) reported over 33,000 calls within three years.
These packets are a highly concentrated, single-dose product designed to dissolve in water; when they contact wet hands or mouths, the packets start to dissolve and release the concentrated liquid inside. The packets or pods are attractive to children and can easily be confused with candy or teething toys.
If children get into laundry packets, their health can be significantly harmed. Children can experience burns to their eyes and skin, seizures, respiratory arrest and coma, according to the AAPCC. At least one child has died via exposure to this product.
- The most obvious remedy is to avoid the packets and use conventional laundry products until your young children are no longer at an age where everything within reach goes in their mouths.
- Keep liquid laundry packets and all laundry products out of children’s reach or in a cabinet secured with a child lock.
- Keep packets in their original container and keep the containers tightly closed.
- Purchase opaque containers so children are not attracted to the contents inside.
- Always follow the instructions on the product labels.
- If a child gets into laundry pods or other products, call the Poison Control Center Help number immediately, (800) 222-1222. The call is free and confidential; translation is available in 161 languages.