Poisons can crop up in various forms and are not necessarily the substances people may normally think of as dangerous. For example, xylitol, an artificial sweetener widely used in chewing gums and toothpastes, is generally safe for people. However, if dogs eat xylitol, they may soon be in serious distress and can even die. And while peanut butter may be a lunchtime staple for many people, others with peanut allergies may experience life-threatening reactions to the same food.
Unfortunately, dangerous reactions can be caused by an array of substances found in homes across the globe.
The New Jersey Poison Control Center has seen a large increase in children being hospitalized after exposure to edible marijuana. Area hospitals have witnessed an influx of patients visiting the hospital due to ingestion of large quantities of the candy Medicated Sour Skittles that contains marijuana. These items are packaged almost identically to the brand name candy. In one recent incident, a 3 year old was admitted to the intensive care unit after eating a cannabis candy called Nerds Rope which looked identical to another beloved candy.
In 2020, the New Jersey Poison Control Center assisted in the medical treatment of more than 55 children under the age of five and more than 30 children between the ages of six and 12 who consumed edible products containing THC, which is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis. That’s more than double the amount of children assisted in 2019 and six times as much as in 2018, according to an official press release.
Cannabis edibles are not the only concern. Children and even adults may mistakenly ingest products they do not realize are medications or supplements. Coated pain relievers can look like candy-covered chocolates. Children’s vitamins may be over-consumed because gummies and chewables can taste like popular candies. Furthermore, certain medicines are flavored to make them more palatable. It’s easy to mistake a chocolate-covered laxative or a berry-flavored antacid tablet for a treat.
Other products may be mistakenly consumed as well. Brightly colored sports drinks can look similar to vividly hued cleaning solutions. Pine cleaner also is virtually the same color as apple juice, and unwitting children may consume the wrong liquid if it’s within reach. Candy-coated gum is nearly identical to nicotine replacement gums used in smoking cessation programs.
Keeping food and candy separated from medicines and cleaning products is essential to prevent mix-ups. Locking away edibles and medications can protect inquisitive children as well.
“In one recent incident, a 3 year old was admitted to the intensive care unit after eating a cannabis candy…”