A College Gives Kids Happy Little Pills
Horry Georgetown Technical College in South Carolina is apologizing for the actions of a staff member. The faculty member handed out M&Ms to little kids in prescription drug bottles. The bottles were handed out over the weekend at a local fun run. The College released the statement regarding the pills:
“While we know this professor meant the candy to serve as a treat, the method of distribution may have confused pre-school children whose parents have taught them not to take pills from pharmaceutical bottles,”
The faculty member was promoting the college’s medical technology program. The pill bottles contained labels prescribing the “Happy Pills” to “A Great Kid,” instructing “patients” to “Take 1 M&Ms every 2 to 4 hours.” The bottles looked identical to any normal medication pill bottle. A little kid could easily confuse the candy pill bottle for a regular pill bottle.
As a parent myself, if the candy was presented to my children in this method, I would be very concerned and upset. Little kids are taught that medicine and pills are not candy by their parents. This could easily confuse children. Children could mistake actual pills for candy and end up very sick.
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, in 2002 there were 2.4 million toxic ingestions. Over half of the ingestions occurred in children younger than 6. Children aged 18 to 36 months were at a higher risk, and in their small size, just one pill can be deadly. Children may appear fine for a few hours but can quickly be in trouble medically. Dr. Henry Spiller, director of the Kentucky Regional Poison Center, Louisville stated,
“Within two hours, we have seen patients go from ingestion to death — even after taking only one to two pills.”
Parents need to be very alert and conscientious when handling pills and medicines around children. Parents may keep the pills out of reach all the time and only have them reachable while getting pills to take. It can only take minutes for a child to accidentally grab a pill and take it, thinking it is candy. For the kids who received the M&Ms in the pill bottles, those parents are especially going to have to be careful.