Emergency hospitalizations for unsupervised prescription medication ingestions by young children.
Approach to Improving Safety
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.