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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
March 24/31, 2020

Adults Are Making It Easier for Children to Ingest Dangerous Drugs

JAMA. 2020;323(12):1125. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.2406

When children accidentally swallow prescription drugs, more than half the time it’s because an adult has removed the medication from child-safe packaging, according to a CDC study in the Journal of Pediatrics.

The 1970 passage of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act, which required child-safe packaging for most prescription medications, helped reduce unintentional child poisonings, the authors wrote. But as medication use increased in the 2000s, so did children’s exposures to those drugs. To learn more about how children are getting access to medications, the study’s authors surveyed 4496 adults who called any of 5 US poison centers about an accidental exposure involving a child 5 years or younger between February and September 2017.