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Not So Child-Proof: Report Shows Thousands Of Children Annually End Up In The ER After Getting Into Meds

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A new report shows that thousands of children each year are sent to the emergency room after they accidentally get into medications at home.

Everything from prescription pills to over-the-counter remedies and vitamins.

Sara McClaren, the mother of 2-year-old Isaac, says her son was able to climb up and get into a bottle of medicine she had tucked away on a shelf in the bathroom. By the time they got him to the emergency room, he was throwing up and having seizures.

"I didn't think that my medicine could hurt him. I was doing everything correct. It was in a container and put up," McClaren said.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

But a report by Safe Kids Worldwide finds that every nine minutes, a child under the age of 6 goes to the emergency room because they accidentally ingested medicine.

"Even medication that is intended for children, like Children's Tylenol and things like that, they are not bad, but if a child gets into too much of it, it can be dangerous," Dr. Michael Lynch, with the Pittsburgh Poison Center, said.

KDKA-TV wanted to see what would happen when we gave a group of pre-schoolers a handful of empty pills bottles with child-resistant caps. In less than 20 seconds, a young girl was able to get the lid off. Several children, after twisting and pulling, were also able to remove the child-resistant tops.

Not surprising for the people who work at poison control centers.

"Nationwide, at the Poison Control Centers, we are getting 1 million calls a year of children getting into medications," Lynch said.

Experts say medicines need to be put up and away and out of sight.

Isaac McClaren has made a full recovery, but his mom, Sara, isn't taking any chances. Her medicine is now in a lock box.

Locally in Pittsburgh, 16,000 calls come into the Pittsburgh Poison Center each year for children 5 and under who ingested medication. About 1,000 of those children need to be treated by doctors.

If you ever need help from the Poison Control Center, the number is 1-800-222-1222, 24/7, anywhere in the country

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