Preventing Unintentional Medication Poisoning in Children: 2016 Resource Guide


In 2012, nearly 6,000 children aged 0 through 4 were hospitalized and another 55,000 were treated and released from U.S. emergency rooms for medication poisoning (Health Care Utilization Project, National Inpatient Sample and National Emergency Department Sample, 2012). These poisonings resulted in $154 million in medical spending and $14 million in parent work losses (CSN EDARC analysis). Nearly all emergency department visits to young children (95 percent) are a result of unsupervised children getting into medication; only five percent of these visits were due to errors on the part of the caregiver (Pediatrics, 2011). Additionally, America’s poison centers managed over 508,000 cases of pharmaceutical exposures in children 12 and under in 2014 alone. That’s about one call per minute.

This resource guide provides links to organizations, programs, publications, and resources focused on medication safety. It is divided into four sections: (1) Organizations, (2) Policy and Legislation, (3) Current Prevention Programs and Resources, and (4) Publications. Each item in this resource guide includes a short description and a link to the resource itself. Descriptions of reports, guides, toolkits, campaigns, websites, and initiatives are, in most cases, excerpted from the resources themselves while descriptions of research studies are excerpted from the study abstracts.