7000 children in US rushed to Emergency

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Washington, Jan 30: Over-the-counter cold medications are responsible for more than 7000 children in the US getting rushed to emergency wards every year, according to a nationally representative study.

Researchers said a majority of problems occur in children in the age group of two to five years ''who get into the medications on their own''. The USFDA was considering to restrict further the use of such paediatric products. Last year all such products were voluntarily withdrawn by the industry for children younger than two but it was claimed that the products were safe and effective for older children.

Nearly 80 per cent of the cases in the age group of two-five years involved situations where children used the products without their parents knowledge. But in the remaining cases, either the parents gave the wrong dose or a correct dose produced an adverse reaction.

Ninety-three per cent of the cases did not require the children to be hospitalised, but about seven per cent required additional treatment. The researchers did not know whether any children died.

''Anytime a child ends up in the emergency department because they had access to a bottle of medication, that is a problem that could be prevented,'' Daniel S. Budnitz of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which conducted the research, was quoted by the Washington Post as saying.

The report, published online yesterday by the journal Pediatrics, is the first attempt to get a nationwide estimate of the extent of the problems.

The researchers recommended encouraging parents to make sure products are kept capped and out of reach, designing better child-proof containers and avoiding colours that make the products look appealing to children.


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