Emergency hospitalizations for unsupervised prescription medication ingestions by young children.
Accidental ingestions of prescription medications by children pose serious safety risks. Prior efforts to mitigate this hazard include child-resistant packaging and public education about safe storage. This study used large databases to estimate that approximately 10,000 children under age 6 are emergently hospitalized following an accidental ingestion annually in the United States. Three-quarters of these events involved 1- or 2-year-old children. Opioids and benzodiazepines were the most common culprits, and 12 active ingredients accounted for nearly half of the hospitalizations. These findings suggest that strategies to specifically target a select group of high-risk medications could have a substantial impact on serious adverse drug events related to accidental ingestions.