Are child safety caps enough to keep kids out? - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Are child safety caps enough to keep kids out?

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(NBC News) - A warning about kids getting into your medication: A new study shows more children are being rushed to hospitals.

That new study out this week from Safe Kids Worldwide shows there are more than 1,100 emergency calls every day about a young child getting into medicine or getting too much medicine by accident.

We assume that child safety caps will protect our kids: After all, you have to push down, and twist. You may think: "I'm an adult and even I have a hard time with these safety caps sometimes. So how could a little kid open it?"

Even for preschoolers, it can be child's play.

Kate Carr is president and CEO of the watchdog group Safe Kids, and says these caps may be part of a bigger problem. A new report just out shows a stunning 30 percent spike over the past decade in young kids accidentally poisoned by medication. In 2011 alone, 67,000 children were rushed to hospitals for it.

"It should be scary," Carr told us. "They think it's candy, so they're going to swallow it and they're going to go after more."

We invited a group of 4-year-olds to a playdate. Then we bought several medications, from ibuprofen to acetaminophen, cough syrup, iron pills, prescription antibiotics. We also bought toxic drain and floor cleaners. If swallowed by a child, all these products can be poisonous, even deadly. That's why they come with child-resistant safety caps.

Before our test we dumped everything out. We even cleaned and sanitized the bottles so that nothing was left behind. Back at the playdate, with the kids' parents looking on, we got started.

"We want to see how quickly you can open these bottles," we told the kids. "One, two, three, go! See what you can open."

Within three seconds, Francesca, one of the children, popped the safety cap on ibuprofen, which according to Safe Kids is the No. 1 drug kids get into. About a minute later she opened another bottle, of acetaminophen -- No. 3 on the list.

"You opened that one too? Was that easy to open?" we asked her.

"Yes," Francesca said.

The boys were doing it too. A boy named Marc opened the cough syrup, and those dangerous painkillers. Remember, these could be poison for a child. But another boy, Brayden, was opening bottles with ease.

In fact, every single child in our group opened at least one bottle. Olivia opened two within minutes. "I am really fast 'cause I'm a big girl," she said.

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