-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Children aged 5 years or
younger accounted for 68.9 percent of the estimated 100,340 U.S.
emergency department visits in 2008 that involved accidental
ingestion of prescription medicines and other drugs, says a U.S.
About two-fifths of these children were 2 years old and 29.5
percent were 1 year old. Males accounted for 55.7 of the cases,
according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report released
by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Pharmaceuticals were involved in 99 percent of cases involving
young children, while illicit drugs or alcohol were involved in
only 1 percent.
"While caretakers may be alert to securing obviously dangerous substances such as cleaning products and chemicals, they may be less aware of the danger of leaving pharmaceutical products belonging to parents or other family members in accessible places," noted the agency in a press release. "This can pose a serious threat of accidental ingestion by infants and toddlers."
Drugs that act on the central nervous system -- such as
acetaminophen products, ibuprofen products, and benzodiazepines --
were involved in 40.8 percent of the cases. Of these cases, most
involved pain relievers (21.1 percent) and anxiety and insomnia
drugs (11.6 percent).
Other types of drugs accidentally ingested by young children
included cardiovascular medications (15.7 percent), respiratory
system medications (10.3 percent), antidepressants and
antipsychotics (8.6 percent), topical medications (8.6 percent) and
drugs for metabolic disorders (5 percent).
The report said that most of the youngsters (85.3 percent) were
treated and released, while 8.7 percent were admitted to the
hospital. Of those, about 20 percent were admitted to the intensive
or critical care unit.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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