Every day poison centers receive calls from and about people of every age, from infants to people in their 80s and beyond. Some types of poisoning are more common at specific ages, while others are common at every stage of life, such as medication errors.
Medication errors happen when someone accidentally uses medication in a way other than how it is intended. For a young child, it could be a parent or caregiver giving the wrong medication or too much for the child’s weight. A teen or adult might take someone else’s medication by mistake. For an older adult, it could be taken a morning medication in the evening.
Here’s a look at other common reasons people call the poison center for different ages:
- Children 3 years old and younger: Most calls in this age group are because children are crawling or walking around and putting things in their mouths or spilling things on themselves.
- Preschool and elementary-aged children: This age group is less likely to get poisoned, but may swallow things or put things on their skin while testing boundaries or responding to dares.
- Teenagers: Teens may become poisoned while trying to get high or in attempts to harm themselves. These reasons for poisoning continue into adult ages, and most calls about these types of poisonings come from hospitals looking for poison center advice in treating the patient.
- Adults: Adults may breathe in chemicals or get them on their skin at work. This can happen in almost any profession, not just industrial jobs.
- Older adults: As people age they may start to take multiple medications, often prescribed by different doctors. Poisonings sometimes happen when a person takes a medication that interacts with another medication or with a health condition.
These are just some of the reasons you may find yourself in need of the poison center. It just goes to show, no matter what your age, whether you’re a parent or not, it pays to have the poison center number handy. Store 1-800-222-1222 in your phone today. And remember you can also contact us 24/7 by live online chat.