We have another child in the PICU who is there because of an overdose of medicine, in this case his grandmother’s antidepressant medication. I frequently see this scenario happen: parents are careful to keep all medicines locked away from curious toddlers, but then the child visits grandparents who, not having small children regularly around the house, are not so diligent. Many older persons take one or more of a wide variety of powerful medications that can cause serious or even lethal poisoning in small children. Child-proof caps are sometimes difficult for the elderly to open, so they may not use them. I deal with the results of what this can lead to at least several times each year. A parent whose small child spends significant time at another house, especially if someone living there takes medicines, should make sure those medicines are stored safely. Toddlers are amazingly quick at getting into trouble.
The best and fastest way to get advice about poisonings in children is to call your regional Poison Control Center. To make this easy to do, the telephone number is the same across the nation: 1-800-222-1222.
05/16/2011 • From time to time have children, mostly toddlers, in the PICU who are there because of an overdose of a medication meant for somebody else. I frequently see this scenario happen: parents are careful to ...more
01/28/2008 • It's winter in the PICU and that means more respiratory illnesses, one of them being croup. This is an ancient illness -- its very name comes from the Anglo-Saxon word to croak, which is what ...more
06/22/2009 • Wheezing is common in small children -- around a third of all children will have an episode of wheezing before they are three years old. Although it's common, we still don't quite know the best ...more
11/13/2010 • The winter virus season is fast approaching, bringing with it the old dilemma of what to do about infants and toddlers who wheeze. Last year I noted that we had no specific treatment that worked. A ...more
12/01/2010 • No pediatrician I know has ever liked any of the many over-the-counter cough and cold remedies very much, especially for very young children. There never has been any evidence that they help cold symptoms, and ...more
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12/04/2013 • I've written about this before, but it's well worth doing it again. It's once more cold season, bringing up the question parents commonly face: Should they buy one of those rows and rows of cough, ...more
11/11/2013 • Asthma is a common problem in children -- nearly 10% now have it -- and the number is increasing. Researchers are not sure of the reasons for this steady increase (more here), but decreased air quality, lower ...more
08/29/2013 • I've written about this before, but it's always a good thing to remind ourselves of simple things in medicine. The severe-looking physician pictured above is Robert F. Loeb, long a professor at Columbia University Medical ...more
08/19/2013 • Many, myself included, have written about the overuse of head computed tomography (CT) scanning in children. This concern has become more focused now that we have some data on the radiation risk of those scans. ...more