As we report in a June news article, findings from several recent studies have underscored the importance of educating parents on how to keep younger children as well as older adolescents safe from exposure to dangerous substances they might accidentally ingest or deliberately seek out. Nurses can talk to parents about safe storage, ask questions about the presence of potentially hazardous substances in the home, and provide information about risks and precautions.
A study of the National Poison Data System found an increase in the rate of marijuana exposure (including edible products) among children younger than six. The rates were higher in states that had legalized the use of marijuana—an implication to be aware of as more states do the same.
Another study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, identified health risks in young children who had ingested alcohol-based hand sanitizers. The researchers drew attention to dangers associated with inadequate safety precautions when these products are used with young children, as well as the possibility that older children might abuse them.
According to one study, prescription opioid pain relievers were stored unsafely in about two-thirds of households with children. Study authors noted that, given the doubling of overdose deaths from drug exposures among adolescents and young adults from 1999 to 2008, this is one potential sources of opioid access and diversion that can and should be addressed.
See more news stories from our June issue, which are free to access through June 19: