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Why Would You Risk Poisoning Your Child? The Danger Of Edibles

By Dr. Dave Hnida

(CBS4) - You know that it's a good idea to keep medicine up and out of the reach of children. You also know it's a good idea to keep the booze locked away, and make sure you don't leave any leftover drinks lying around from a party the night before. But how about marijuana?

Evidently some of you aren't thinking straight.

A new study in JAMA Pediatrics shows that the number of children poisoned by recreational marijuana has jumped sharply since the drug was legalized in Colorado (and Washington) a few years ago.

The number of kids seen in the ER has doubled, and the number of panicked phone calls to poison centers has risen 500% since legalization.

And more than half of the cases involve edibles: treats that look like a nice munchable candy, cookie, or brownie.

The "buzz" you may get as an adult is a lot different than what a child experiences. They wind up vomiting, disoriented, freaked out, can't walk, have seizures and breathing problems so severe that the child winds up on a ventilator in the ICU.

RELATED STORIES: Marijuana Legalization Story Archive

As doctors, we scramble as we try to think of the possibilities when an unconscious child is brought into the ER. Is it meningitis? Is it a head injury? Or these days the new question -- did that child get into some edibles?

Who is to blame? Easy. People who should know better.

Parents, grandparents, friends, neighbors and babysitters are putting kids at risk.

Sure, there is supposed to be "child resistant" packaging on edibles, but seriously, an adult just needs to open the package, and leave it around. The scenario is not all that complex.

The bottom line: things may look tasty, be tasty ... yet be poison to your child.

It's time to change these numbers around. Because they aren't numbers. They are children.

Dr. Dave Hnida is CBS4's Medical Editor. He blogs about the latest studies and trends in the health world. Read his latest blog entries, check out his bio or follow him on Twitter @drdavehnida




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