Increase in Kids Being Rushed to the Emergency Room After Swallowing Prescription Meds

New report says that 38 percent of the time kids are taking pills that belong to grandparents.
3:00 | 03/12/14

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Transcript for Increase in Kids Being Rushed to the Emergency Room After Swallowing Prescription Meds
And there is a stark, new warning, tonight, for American families. A spike in the number of children rushed to the emergency room because they've swallowed potent drugs. And a surprising number of cases show those pills belong to grandparents. ABC's Amy robach, now, with an exclusive first look at a new report. Reporter: Poison control centers get calls like this 500,000 times a year. Poison center, can I help you? Yes. My daughter just bit into a rozerem. Reporter: Children under 5 are rushed to the emergency room 64,000 times a year from medications they got into at home. And this new study finds they're not just finding their parents' pills. In 38% of these cases, the medications belong to a growing group of care givers, grandparents. We have more grandparents living with their families today. There's been a 23% increase since 2005. And we know that older adults take more medicine. Reporter: 74% of grandparents who regularly care for children, take a prescription pill every day. All these medications can be dangerous, even in a single dose. Reporter: And even life-threatening? Life-threatening. Reporter: And childproof packaging is a myth. Watch when my colleague, Paula Faris, asks six kids, ages 3 through 6, to see what they can do with the so-called child-resistant bottles. The youngest of the bunch needs six seconds to pop over a pain prescription bottle. The kindergartners proceed to open every, single bottle. In just a seven-minute period. I opened this one, too. Reporter: Because of memory problems or arthritis, grandparents may be unintentionally making it easy for kids to get into their meds. Many of the medications are put in plastic bags, the weekly pill organizers. Reporter: And if they're left on the counter, they're probably pretty tempting. Yes. The pills can often look like candy. Reporter: The mothers of the kids in our experiment, they were shocked. And they're going to make some changes. I just opened it. We're going to go home and have a new lesson, how not to open the bottles. Reporter: And parents, tell your parents to keep those medications up high and away from small and curious hands. And doctors warn, there are two age groups most susceptible to accessing prescription bottles. Toddlers who open them by accident, and adolescents who are looking for an easy high or easy money. Diane? This the a great wake-up call. Thank you, Amy robach. Now, we turn, next, to

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