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More than 70,000 children are taken to the emergency room each year because of unintentional medication poisoning. The Doctors examine the most dangerous drugs that could be harmful to your kids with just a single dose.
ER physician Dr. Darria Long Gillespie joins ER physician Dr. Travis Stork to help identify the pills that many people have in their homes right now.
Dr. Gillespie says narcotic pain medications are the “the No. 1 group cause of death from medications in kids under 5.”
Signs that a child might have taken a narcotic pain medication include:
- Becoming lethargic
- Slowed breathing
- Stopped breathing
A reversal agent for narcotics exists, but it needs to be used quickly. Dr. Gillespie and Dr. Stork stress calling 911 immediately if you believe your child has ingested one of your pills.
Another drug that is risky for kids are those that are delivered in a patch form.
“A patch is supposed to be worn for several days, so it has a dose for an adult to last for several days. So if a child comes and bites or chews the patch, they’re going to get that dose immediately,” she warns. “They look like stickers! What toddler doesn’t love stickers?”
Dr. Gillespie also shares her tips for truly child-proofing your medications, which include:
- Be aware of guests like grandparents, who might have pills in their purses or bags, which kids can easily access
- Use triple layer protection for medications with child-proof doors and cabinets, child-proof pill containers and lock the meds somewhere out of reach
- Be serious about how you refer to pills, never call them candy or toys, always use the word “medicine”
Lastly, Dr. Stork reiterates the importance of acting quickly if a parent is worried their child has swallowed something, saying, “If your child has ingested a pill or medication, don’t wait to see if your child has symptoms. You can call the National Poison Control Center immediately at 1-800-222-1222 or if you’re truly concerned, also 911. You don’t want to wait until the symptoms are so profuse that it’s too late.”