Breaking News
More () »

Why 1 kid goes to the E.R. every 10 minutes

And how to keep yours safe
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

TOLEDO, Ohio — You would do anything to protect your kids, right? That includes making your home safe, around the clock.

But we found shocking numbers on what is sending our kids to the emergency room.

ProMedica's Ebeid Institute has a training kitchen that looks like a kitchen many of us have.

But Mike Smith, an injury prevention specialist with the Safe Kids Coalition at ProMedica Toledo Children's Hospital, sees a problem when he looks at drawers that extend down to the floor.

"What worries me is that they're right at their eye level," said Smith. "So that's something, the shiny handle is going to catch their attention."

Safe Kids Worldwide published a new study last month that shows parents are unknowingly giving their young children access to potentially harmful medicine.

And here's the frightening result: Every day, 142 kids under the age of six are rushed to the emergency room after getting into medicine.

That's one child every ten minutes! 

The study also says parents may store their meds in a safe place, but many times leave a bottle of pills out because they need to take another dose later in the day.

Smith showed us one common place in the kitchen where many parents unknowingly get careless.

"Counter tops are convenient for you, but they're still within sight as they grow, so that's going to be more within reach for them," Smith said. 

Smith said parents should never place a bottle of pills on the counter top, or anywhere they can be seen.

"You want to keep it back and try to keep it out of their sight," Smith said.

Medical Director for the ProMedica Toledo Children's Hospital emergency room Dr. Eugene Izsak agrees.

"And there it sits, on the counter, within easy reach of the toddler. So those are times that are danger times," said Dr. Izsak.

He said anything in reach of a toddler is the wrong place to keep your prescription pills.

"They've had to be admitted to the hospital, they have to be admitted to critical care units and then, unfortunately, we've also seen children die from those kinds of ingestions," Dr. Izsak said.

Another problem can come up when grandma or grandpa come over or they're watching your kids. They may unknowingly be making their pill containers too accessible. 

Like in grandma's purse, or if grandpa isn't careful.

"Grandpa dropped his medication container and didn't pick all of the pills up. Missed a couple. All it could take is a couple," Dr. Izsak said.

"Whether it's pain relievers, blood pressure medications, diabetes medications, one or two pills could be fatal to a child," he added.

The Safe Kids study also finds that parents are surprised by how fast their kids develop and can get into things like pills.

Smith showed how creative kids can get in your kitchen. 

"So with these drawers here, because of the way that they're stacked, they can pull these drawers out and pull them out not as far, kind of creating a staircase for them to get up to the counter," said Smith.

So what should you be doing? 

Securely store your meds where they normally would go.

"It is just a few more seconds or an extra minute to go down to the bathroom or wherever you're storing your medication," Smith said.

If you have to keep them in the kitchen, at least use plastic sliding locks for the cabinets or latches to keep the drawers closed.

The best place to keep those pill bottles is up high, in an upper cabinet.

Credit: Tim Miller, WTOL
An upper cabinet is the safest place to store medicine

If your kids do ingest medicine, you can call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

And if they have to go to the emergency room?

"Please, please bring the product with you. There are so many products that have very similar names and unless we have the label, it's hard for us to know exactly what the child got into," Dr. Izsak said.

Safe Kids Coalition in Toledo is also concerned about kids accidentally getting a hold of medical marijuana as it becomes more common inside homes.

And some recreational marijuana looks like candy to them.

Before You Leave, Check This Out