A new campaign, “Safe Storage, Safe Dosing, Safe Kids,” aims to reduce accidental poisonings of children from medications.
“About 165 kids—or roughly four school busloads of children—are seen in emergency rooms for medication-related treatment every day in the U.S.,” Kate Carr, President and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, which is spearheading the campaign, said in a news release. “Every one of those trips was preventable. We can and must do better.”
The initiative is being launched in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of poison control centers and National Poisoning Prevention Week, according to CNN.
A report released Tuesday by Safe Kids finds that while overall poisoning deaths among children fell by half from 1979 to 2006, the percentage of those deaths caused by medications nearly doubled—from 36 percent to 64 percent.
The group points to several causes for this increase, including medications that are more readily available and improperly stored in homes. The rising number of households with multiple generations increases children’s access to medications, according to the report.
When pills are available and children are unsupervised, the result can be deadly, the group says. The report notes that among children who are rushed to the emergency room due to accidental medication overdoses, 95 percent swallowed the products while they were not supervised.
The campaign advises parents and caregivers to always put away medicines and vitamins after each use, and not to be tempted to keep them handy in a purse, briefcase, backpack or unlocked cabinet or drawer that is within a child’s reach. “Make sure that all medications in the child’s environment are stored out of reach and out of sight,” Safe Kids notes.