Danish medicine chests are overflowing with over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and prescription medication, and health authorities say that too many children are being poisoned by carelessly protected drugs.
In 2013, 1,400 children were admitted to health facilities nationwide for ingesting dangerous doses of everyday painkillers, according to a report from Kompass Kommunications.
Every week, more and more kids or poisoned by overdosing on everything from their own children’s vitamins to heart medication.
Doctors said that medicines and vitamins are too easy for children to get their hands on in Danish homes. Often children are poisoned by taking medicines while visiting their grandparents.
“Grandparents often leave their medicine on a bedside table, and that is an accident waiting to happen," Gershe Jürgens, a section head at the poison control centre, told Politken newspaper. Jürgens said that the centre receives two or three calls every week concerning children who have ingested adult medicine or vitamin pills.
Heart and blood pressure medications are particularly dangerous for children. One dose could prove fatal.
Too much of a good thing
Torsten Kristensen, spokesperson for Falck, Capital Region said he sometimes treats as many as five poisoned children in a week. The kids have often overdosed on children’s vitamins whose kid-friendly appearance and sweet flavours entice children to swallow more than the recommended dosage.
“Many children view their vitamin pills as candy, but adults must monitor how many they take because they are actually quite dangerous,” said Kristensen. “Just two or three can require hospitalisation.”
Kristensen said that parents should opt for neutral tasting vitamins and stay away from the sweet varieties that can entice children.
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Kristensen and Jürgens both agreed that preventing kids from being poisoned is the responsibility of the adults in the home.
"It's not the kids who need to be educated here, but the adults,” said Kristensen.