According to Scientific American on Tuesday, there is a safety device that can reduce the chance of accidental overdose and ingestion of liquid medications in children. The device is a safety valve called a flow restrictor which is a small plastic device that fits into the neck of a bottle to slow the release of liquid.
In 2011, 74,000 children visited the ER for drug accidents. 15,000 of those children were admitted for further evaluation or treatment. According to the CDC 20 children die each year from drug accidents. There are no laws demanding that companies add flow restrictors to their bottles even though they have been shown to reduce the amount of medication ingested quickly.
Children's medication companies are hesitant to change their bottles to include the flow restrictors. the restrictors can cost anywhere from 1-8 cents per bottle to add on, but changing the assembly line to include the insertion of the flow restrictors could cost a company a million dollars or more.
How can we put a price on the life of a child? We can not, a child's life is priceless, unmeasurable. Millions can be saved annually by reducing the amount of children seen in the ER. Millions more can be saved by eliminating the evaluation and treatment of those children if they never ingest the medications in the first place.
Drug makers have added restrictors to infant and children's acetaminophen, more commonly known as Tylenol, to honor a pledge made in 2011. But in some instances flow restrictors have not been put on bottles of cough and cold syrup for children that contains the same amount of acetaminophen.