New report finds 37% spike in accidental child poisoning deaths in 2021

WASHINGTON — Accidental child poisoning deaths are on the rise in the U.S., according to a new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

CPSC’s annual report on pediatric poisoning deaths and injuries said 59 kids under age five died from “unintentional pediatric poisonings” in 2021, which is a 37% increase from the year before.

A breakdown of the data shows 33 of those cases involved narcotics, nine cases involved other medications like seizure medicine and medication to induce sleep, while one incident involved non-opioid analgesics, which can include antidepressants or medication to reduce fever.

“It’s a reminder that these things are still happening and there’s still lots of work to do,” said Shushanna Mignott, program director for the non-profit group Safe Kids Worldwide. “With a combination of kids just being curious and parents being busy, unfortunately, it’s the combination where kids get into things that they shouldn’t sometimes.”

Mignott said the organization advises parents to make sure potentially dangerous items are kept up and away from young children; and if they can’t be stored high up, make sure the items are locked up.

“We’re talking about household cleaning products,” said Mignott. “It could be medication. We’re talking about liquid laundry packets, alcohol, personal care products, pesticides.”

The group also encourages parents to make sure the number for poison control is saved in their phones: 1-800-222-1222.

Finally, parents are advised to keep medications and cleaning supplies in the original packaging to help avoid any confusion about what’s inside.

CPSC also warns parents to make sure products with accessible batteries are kept away from young children if the battery compartments do not have a screw or closure, or if the compartment is damaged.

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