What Can Kids Teach Us About Household Medicine Safety?

by Carmen Dellutri on November 3, 2011

Naples personal injury attorneyAs anyone with children can tell you, you can learn from a seventh grader. This month, a Cincinnati seventh grader will be presenting the findings of her science fair project on candy/medicine mix-ups to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Medicine safety, specifically the problem of unintentional ingestion of medicine among kids, is big right now, according to Casey Gittelman. She, along with her classmate Eleanor Bishop, conducted a study of how well a group of teachers and kindergarten children could tell the difference between medicine and candy.

With the help of Gittelman’s dad, Mike, an emergency medicine physician, they got a medicine cabinet from the Drug and Poison Information Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center with a mixture of 20 candies and medicines.

They randomly picked 30 teachers and 30 kindergarten students from their local elementary school and asked them to distinguish which items in the cabinet were candies. They also took into consideration that some of the kids were unable to read.

What did they find? More than one in four of the children, and one in five of the teachers, had difficulty distinguishing between pills and candy.

Their other findings about medicine safety included the following:

  • Students correctly distinguished candy from medicine at a rate of 71 percent, while teachers did so at a rate of 78 percent.
  • Students who couldn’t read did significantly worse at distinguishing between medicine and candy, compared to kids who could read.
  • Forty-three percent thought M&Ms were Coricidin, a cold medicine.
  • Fifty-three percent thought SweetTARTS were Mylanta, taken for heartburn.
  • Half thought Reese’s Pieces were Sine-off, a cold and sinus medication.
  • Fifty-three percent thought SweetTARTS were Tums, for heartburn.

In addition, the girls found that 78 percent of those surveyed said medicines in their homes were not locked or out-of-reach.

“Only about 10 percent said they stored their medicines appropriately,” said Gittelman. “If people did keep medicines locked up, it would prevent a lot of unintentional ingestions.”

We couldn’t have said it better…

Source: MSNBC

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