FDA Issues New Warning About Children and Certain Over-the-Counter Medications

Health & Wellness on 10.31.12
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Image: Sarah Fernandez

Most parents are aware of the fact that they should keep medicines and other potentially dangerous chemicals out of arm’s reach of small children. There is a reason that most of them come with childproof packaging, and for those health care products that don’t come with special packaging, I can’t say that I don’t think of them as being safer should my children happen to gain access to them, although I don’t leave them lying around. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a new warning for parents about two particular over-the-counter products that comes without child-proof packaging and can cause severe health risks if a child is to ingest either of them. The products are over-the-counter eye drops and nasal sprays.

The FDA reports that children who have ingested even less than one half of a teaspoon have reported “serious adverse effects.” While no deaths have been reported from ingesting these items, more than half of the time the children who ingested them have required hospitalization due to nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, increased heartbeat, and even comas.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission began an effort in January of this year to require childproof packaging on both over-the-counter eye drops and nasal sprays, but the measure has not been passed into law. It can take mere seconds for children to get a hold of these medications and ingest them so in the meantime parents should ensure they are keeping their children safe by following the guidelines listed by Up and Away and Out of Sight. Even leaving the container on the counter for a moment can be too long. But in the case that your child does ingest these medications, be sure to call poison control at 800-222-1222.

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