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Shelley Osterloh ReportingWe have plenty of warnings to keep medications and household cleaners out of the reach of small children, but the Poison Control Center at the University of Utah says it doesn't stop there. In this report, Shelley Osterloh looks at a potentially deadly product a lot of parents give their kids.
Alyson O'Steen remembers very well one specific episode of her favorite TV series ER, about a little girl who was sent home with flu-like symptoms.
Alyson O'Steen, Patient, U of U Poison Control Center: "She came back into the emergency room in full cardiac arrest, and Dr. Green said what's her vitamin consumption been today? And her mom said, ‘Oh she got into the vitamins - and you know they're like iron fortified.’ She died a short time later."
That episode of ER took a new significance a few months later when she found her little boy in the kitchen.
Alyson O'Steen, Patient: "I didn't know it, but they had awakened and he knew that big huge bottle of children's vitamins was in that box. And so he when and flipped it open and just ate all 150 of those vitamins."
She remembered the show and immediately called Poison Control. That was a lifesaving decision because doctors found toxic amounts of iron in his blood and were able to flush it out.
Barbara Insley Crouch, PharmD, MSPH, Dir., University of Utah Poison Control Ctr.: “Rather than wait for symptoms to develop in someone, we would like to help someone through this situation early and intervene early.”
Dr. Crouch emphasizes that the service is free and confidential so there's absolutely no reason not to call. The poison control center at the U responds to about 50,000 calls a year. 60% are for children under six years of age.