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Acetaminophen Tops List of Accidental Infant Poisonings

According to new research, infants are just as susceptible to accidental poisonings from medication errors as older children. After examining ten years of poison control center calls, researchers found that treating children with medications containing acetaminophen posed the greatest risk of medication-related mistakes in infants. H2-blockers, gastrointestinal medicines, cold relief medications, and antibiotics also made the list of the most dangerous products for infants.

Medication Mistakes

Pediatricians are typically expected to begin teaching parents about poison prevention when a child reaches six months old. This is in large part due to the fact that infants often begin taking an interest in their environments at that time and are subsequently more likely to ingest unsafe products. But the surprising new findings, published in the journal Pediatrics, suggest that parents should begin researching medication use as a possible form of accidental poisoning much earlier, perhaps even before leaving the hospital after childbirth.

In reaching these conclusions, Dr. A. Min Kang and Daniel Brooks reviewed the more than 270,000 poison control center calls made between the years 2004 and 2013. They narrowed their review to calls relating to infants younger than six months old. Around half of the calls described situations where infants unintentionally ingested a product or substance. New data revealed, however, that an additional 37 percent involved a medication mistake. Of those mistaken exposures, as many as 47 percent were dosage-related, while 43 percent involved giving an infant the wrong medication. For instance, acetaminophen, which is generally recommended as an alternative to ibuprofen for infants, was involved in 22,000 accidental poisonings.

To help avoid accidental poisonings, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement recommending that producers of liquid medications use metric units for the purpose of measuring dosages and that each bottle include an administration device, like a syringe, to help decrease instances of dosage-related poisonings.

Medication Mistakes and Personal Injury

The recommendations and policy statements issued by groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the United States Food and Drug Administration are instrumental in informing doctors on the advice they should be giving to their patients. Many parents give their ailing children medication based on the directions or warnings given by their pediatrician or general physician. As a result, it is extremely important that pediatricians stay up-to-date on the latest research and treatment methods in their field. If they do not, they risk unknowingly recommending medications or dosages that can harm their patients.

The findings and recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the FDA can help establish whether a suggested dose or medication was the safest and most effective treatment for an infant or child according to the medical community. The research provided by medical organizations is often relied upon in personal injury lawsuits that are based on negligent or substandard medical care.

Parents whose children have sustained injuries from accidental poisoning may have recourse to compensation through a medical malpractice suit which can help them recover for medical costs and lost wages.

Call an Attorney Today

If you have suffered an injury due to the negligence of a physician, you may be able to receive compensation for your losses. Please contact a dedicated Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney at Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., for a free consultation.

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