To Prevent Poisoned Kids, Lock Up Both The Pot Brownies And The Toothpaste

Image courtesy of Kent Kanouse

When something becomes legal, it becomes more common in citizens’ homes. That’s why it’s not surprising that a study shows an increase in treatment for accidental poisonings of children in Colorado after recreational marijuana became legal to buy and sell there in 2014. Yet while this serves as an important reminder to caregivers to lock up their infused brownies, children are still most likely to be poisoned by ordinary household products like cleaning supplies and over-the-counter medications.

In their analysis of cases of poisoning among children at a children’s hospital the suburbs of Denver, the doctors who conducted this study found that just over half of the cases (52%) involved edible products, while the rest involved less processed, smokable forms of the drug.

The doctors noted that the total number of poison control cases in Colorado increased an average of 24% each year from the beginning of 2009 to the end of 2015, and the nationwide rate increased 19% during the same six-year period.

Cannabis edibles in the form of brownies, cookies, or candy are popular products that are commercially available in Colorado, and the problem with such products is that their packaging makes them indistinguishable from other sweets, especially if you’re a toddler who can’t read.

On the other hand, the Washington Post’s occasionally contrarian Wonkblog points out that even in Colorado, most common poisoning hazards to kids are regular household items like toothpaste, diaper cream, and cleaning products.

Sales of edible and smokable products are brisk, but only .23% of calls over poisonings or suspected poisonings in Colorado involves cannabis products. You should lock up your pot-infused lollipops, but also lock up those detergent pods, mouthwash, and dish detergent, and supervise kids around crayons, toothpaste, and diaper cream.

Your kid is way more likely to be poisoned by crayons than by marijuana [Wonkblog]
Unintentional Pediatric Exposures to Marijuana in Colorado, 2009-2015 [JAMA Pediatrics]

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