Prescription Medicine Poisonings on the Increase in Kids

More and more kids are showing up in the emergency room after accidental poisoning from prescription drugs, according to new research published in the Journal of Pediatrics. The findings show that painkillers and sedatives are behind much of that rise, and that the poisonings usually occur when kids get into medications themselves, not when parents give them too much by mistake. The researchers gathered data from all calls made to U.S. poison control centers from emergency rooms after kids had accidentally swallowed a medication. Between 2001 and 2008, they tallied about 544,000 visits in kids 5 and younger, 454,000 of which could be blamed on a single drug. While most kids who went to the ER didn't end up being sick, there were still 66 deaths during the study period. Over the time studied, the number of kids landing in the ER with accidental poisoning jumped 30 percent, and hospitalizations and injuries also became more common, likely because the number of prescription drugs people have at home has spiked recently, the researchers said.