Parents may not be aware of the dangers prescription
veterinary medicines pose to children in their homes. A study in the
March 2017 issue of Pediatrics, “Pediatric Exposures to Veterinary Pharmaceuticals
(published online Feb. 6) examined calls to the Central Ohio Poison Center over
a 15-year period about children’s exposure to veterinary medicines. More than
1,400 calls were received during that time and 87 percent of those were for
children under age 5. Most of the cases, 96 percent, were treated at home and
led to no long-term harm to the children. Ingestion was the most common form of
exposure. Authors found that children may pick up medication spit out by an
animal, or get into food containing medication not fully eaten by an animal.
Another source of contact is through topical administrations when a child may
pet or play with an animal that recently received topical medication, thus
transferring it to the child’s skin. The authors point out that it is important
to educate parents and caregivers on the proper administration and storage of
veterinary medicines, including limiting children’s access to the pet as
medication is given and being sure all topical treatments dry before allowing
contact between child and pet. All human medication should be stored separately
from veterinary formulas so that there is no confusion between the two
products. All medication should be stored in child-resistant packaging and kept
out of reach children at all times.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org
and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.