As prescriptions increase for adult aches, pains and chronic illnesses, accidental poisonings in children increase. That’s the finding of a new study in the July issue of Pediatrics magazine. It says that children under age five and teens are at the highest risk. Mercy Hospital toxicologist Dr. Jennifer Lowry said parents can’t be too careful when it comes to those teenagers who abuse their parents’ meds in order to get high.

Jennifer Lowry

Lowry added parents are often surprised by how quickly toddlers can pull the pills out of a purse, a pill dispenser, or just grab one that happens to catch their attention. She said parents often tell her that they turned their heads for a minute or two and before they knew it, a toddler had somehow swallowed the pills.

Jennifer Lowry

The CDC says in the last decade, the number of children who have died in car crashes has decreased by more than 40%, while the number who have died from accidental poisoning has gone up by 80%. Dr. Lowry said if you don’t need the pills, just get them out of the house.

Lowry added parents need to be extra vigilant, and doctors need to be careful not to over-prescribe.