Sedating children with over-the-counter or prescription medications may be an under-recognized form of abuse, CNN reported July 22.
Researchers who looked at data from the National Poison Data System found an average of 160 cases of 'malicious administration' of pharmaceuticals to children per year, with 1,439 cases between 2000 and 2008. The study found that 14 percent of cases resulted in injuries and 18 kids died.
Sedatives were the most common drug administered, but parents also gave kids antidepressants, stimulants, and antipsychotics.
“Anytime you're giving a medication for any other purpose other than for what it's explicitly prescribed for, you run the risk of harming your child,” said Shan Yin, the author of the report.
“If [parents give kids medicine] for medical a reason, that's one thing,” James Hmurovich, the president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America, added. “If moms are at wit's end and the stress is building up and they're tired, that's not a good use of over-the-counter medications.
The findings were reported in the Journal of Pediatrics.