Most children rushed to an emergency unit for poisoning have taken a prescription or over-the-counter drug. They account for more than twice the rate of poisonings from non-drug products.
The Centers for Disease Control in the USA estimates that around 71,000 children need emergency treatment every year after swallowing a drug. Most of the cases happen when the child is unsupervised and takes the drug without his parents' knowledge, while just 20 per cent of cases are the result of a medication or overdose error.
The most common drugs the children are taking include antidepressants, anti-inflammatories, benzodiazepines, opioids, and cough and cold remedies.
The poisonings suggest that the child-proof and child-resistant bottle caps aren't very effective - but researchers found that, in many cases, the caps had been left off.
(Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2009; 37: tba).