DES MOINES, Iowa –Des Moines police are investigating the death of a two year-old after they say the child got into his mother’s prescription medication.
Police have not charged the mother in connection to this case but are saying that charges could be coming down the road.
Police say at 7:45 a.m. they were called an apartment complex on Douglas Avenue. Officials say the mother had called saying she believed her two year-old son was dead. Police say sometime overnight they believe the two year-old and a four year-old were able to get into the mother’s prescription. Police are investigating if negligence is involved.
“Right now, we’re leaning towards the fact that the child was able to get a hold of the medication is being what’s the most likely contributing factor to the child’s death. It doesn’t look like there was anything else involved,” said Des Moines Police Spokesman Paul Parizek.
The four year-old was taken to the hospital as a precaution but has not shown signs of medical issues. No charges have been filed, but police say they’re a possibility.
“Our focus right now is taking care of the family and giving our detectives the time to get the answers they need from the lab testing. Then we’ll move forward from there to see if there’s anything criminal involved,” said Parizek.
Meanwhile, the Blank Children’s Hospital is reminding parents of the importance of keeping medication away from children.
“Every year in the United States there’s about 500,000 calls to poison control centers because a child has either gotten into a medication or they received too much of their medication,” said Janna Day, Injury Prevention Project Coordinator at Blank Children’s Hospital.
Day says there are tools like swivel locks to help parents keep medication drawers shut, but Day also says it’s also about how a parent treats medication.
“Kids see us take it as adults so one idea is that when you take your medication, don’t take it around your child. Make sure you child knows that medication is indeed that. We don’t call medication candy, we don’t say how yummy it tastes; medicine is medicine and that’s how it needs to be addressed,” said Day.
Day also says that more and more children are staying with grandparents during the day and often times those homes have more medication and less child proofing than their parents’ home. In fact, Blank says 48% of the time children who go to the ER for ingesting medication are getting into grandparent’s medication.