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A Shocking Number of Kids Overdose on Medicine Each Day

The Short of It

A scary new report finds just how easy it is for children to overdose on medicine.

The Lowdown

Safe Kids Worldwide says as many as 160 children end up in hospital emergency rooms every day after overdosing on medicine—from vitamins and OTC medications, like pain relievers, to prescription meds.

In 2013, 60,000 young kids were seen in ERs after accidentally ingesting medicines they found on the ground, in cabinets, purses or diaper bags.

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The report claims pill boxes are especially dangerous; in fact, one in four kids are overdosing after getting into pill organizers that were left out, such as on a counter or bedside table. The problem is that these types of organizers aren't designed to be child-proof.

A Good Morning America "experiment" found a toddler could open a pill box in just under 10 seconds. But that's not the worst of it; young children were able to open even child-resistant medicine bottles with just a little tinkering.

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To prevent an overdose, ABC News' Dr. Richard Besser recommends asking for child-proof bottles for all prescription drugs and stresses the importance of being aware of where all medicines in your home are kept, even those of a visiting grandparent.

The Upshot

Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, says prevention is all about supervision.

"Whoever is watching over that child at that moment and that day has the responsibility of keeping all medicine out of the reach of children," she told ABC News.

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But even with good supervision, an accident can happen. When my father was visiting one time, he dropped a prescription pill on the floor somewhere in the house and couldn't find it. After a search, I was also unable to recover the pill. I told my children what had happened and cautioned them not to put the pill in their mouths if they found it, but I still worried until the pill was eventually found. This report is a great reminder for all caregivers that you can never be too careful.

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