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Health Check Kids: Accidental poisoning

Health Check Kids: Accidental poisoning. (WJAR)

Every 9 minutes, a child under the age of six has to be rushed to the hospital because of an accidental poisoning.

This, according to a new report by Safe Kids Worldwide which also reports that every hour, a child needs to be hospitalized.

"They all look pretty similar and I think they'd all look pretty delicious and enticing to a young child,” said Dr. Dina Burstein with the Injury Prevention Center at Rhode Island Hospital. She’s referring to gummy candies looking, and tasting so similar to gummy vitamins and melatonin (sleep aid) products. Or certain decongestant tablets looking like red hot candies.

Unless they're in a bottle, even an adult might not know the difference.

"First of all, the most common age group to suffer from accidental poisonings are kids under six years of age,” said Burstein.

"They're very curious at that age and how do little kids explore things? They put them in their mouths. (And it) could be harmful, could even potentially be fatal."

And it is potentially dangerous: Every 12 days, a child under the age of six dies from an accidental medicine-related poisoning.

And you know those child resistant pill bottles?

"I don't know if there's anything that's really considered 100 percent child proof. I think kids are pretty clever,” said Burstein.

"So I would assume nothing is child proof and given enough time, a child can get in to it so much better to keep it high out of reach, out of sight."

And keep medications and potential household products in their original containers.

"Sometimes parents have put household cleaners in soda bottles, empty soda bottles, empty milk jugs, things like that for whatever reason and a child finds it and thinks it's soda.

One other thing. And this is to avoid an accidental overdose. Follow directions when giving your child medications recommended by a pharmacist or prescribed by a doctor. Only use the measuring cup or spoon that comes with it.

And keep track of how often you're giving a medication to your child so you're giving it at the right intervals. Of course, if you SUSPECT an accidental poisoning, you can call the poison control hotline in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. That number: 1800-222-1222.


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