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FDA Warns That Nasal Spray and Eye Drops Are a Serious Threat to Children

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You'd think that nasal spray and eye drops are relatively harmless, but that might not be the case–at least when it comes to young children. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration is warning households to keep the two products out of children's hands to avoid serious harm.

According to the FDA, they've received several reports of children who have become seriously ill as a result of consuming eye drops and nasal spray containing tetrahydrozoline, naphazoline and oxymetazoline. Overall, the FDA has received 96 cases of children ingesting the products between 1985 and 2012. Although no children died, several needed hospitalization for coma, decreased heart rate, decreased breathing, and sedation.

All of the children involved in the reported cases were under 5 years old. Cases reported children who were sucking on the bottles or found with an empty bottle. Even ingesting a small amount of eye drops or nasal spray was associated with serious illness. Unfortunately, none of these products currently include a child warning, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission has proposed a requirement for child-proof packaging. You can practice medication storage safety by placing eye drops and nasal drops in places too high for children to reach, re-locking safety caps, not taking medication in front of children, and reminding guests to put purses, coats or bags that may contain medications away from children who might want to imitate adults.