Can Too Much Liquid Acetaminophen Be Harmful for Kids?
Beware of Child Medication Errors from Acetaminophen Dosing Confusion
Kids like to play with items that aren’t toys and eat and drink things they aren’t supposed to. As children are growing up, they are curious about things and often like to discover things hands-on. Unfortunately, sometimes this means that children are put in danger when they get their hands on medications.
Did you know that approximately 10,000 children visit the emergency room for accidental medication overdoses every year? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not only do this many kids suffer harm, but some are hospitalized and about 20 children die annually from overdoses. As a result, drug makers are being asked to add safety devices to children’s medications.
Following an investigation by ProPublica and testing by Consumer Reports showing how flow restrictors could make children’s liquid medications safer, many concerned officials and parents want to see drug makers install flow restrictors in all liquid medication for children.
What Are Flow Restrictors?
These devices would fit into the neck of a bottle to slow the release of liquid medicine through a small plastic valve. As a result, children would have a harder time accidentally swallowing a harmful amount of medication.
Drug makers have already placed flow restrictors in infant acetaminophen bottles and other acetaminophen products, but there are many other medicines that need the addition of these safety devices. In fact, ibuprofen, cough and cold formulas, and antihistamines make up the most emergency room visits for overdoses affecting children. Acetaminophen is involved in about one-quarter of the ER visits.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a New York Democrat, is one of the officials calling all drug makers to add these safety devices within a year to help prevent accidental overdoses in children. If all liquid medication was equipped with closed restrictors, the amount of child medication overdoses would be reduced. “The closed restrictor, the foolproof kind, is 8 to 10 cents a bottle,” said Schumer. There is no reason why these safety devices aren’t on every bottle of children’s liquid medicine.
We encourage you to contact your state officials to support the addition of closed flow restrictors in hopes of preventing needless medication injuries and fatalities affecting children.