AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Many vitamins out on the market look like candy, and now, with more kids staying home due to the pandemic, the Texas Poison Center has seen a 55 percent increase in overexposure to vitamins among kids.
The kinds of calls they’re receiving are from parents who realize they accidentally gave the wrong dose or they have found an open vitamin jar and realized their kids ate several.
“They’ll call the Poison Center and say ‘hey I found some vitamins with the cap open, and I asked my kiddo, and they ate some gummy vitamins.’ The gummy vitamins, as we know, taste good, and those are vitamins that particularly cause a risk with kiddos, simply because they want to eat more and more of them and not just the recommended dose,” said Ronica Farrar, educator at Texas Panhandle Poison Center.
Health experts say there are a couple of specific vitamins parents should keep in mind when checking what vitamins their kids could have eaten.
“With vitamin overdoses, you have to be careful with iron. That can be very harmful with gastrointestinal system, it causes a lot of irritation to the gas strip and can cause gastrointestinal bleeding,” said Pediatrician Dr. Rex Fletcher. “Also, you have to keep in mind with vitamin overdoses. Fat soluble vitamins can accumulate and become toxic, particularly vitamin A, and to a lesser extent, vitamin D and vitamin E as well.”
Farrar says the most important thing parents could do is educate kids to understand that vitamins should be treated as serious as any other medication. She recommends keeping vitamins away from the reach of children, as you would any other drug, and to not show kids how to open child resistant packaging.
It is also important to teach young adults how to read labels and have them understand instructions as strict rules rather than guidelines, as Farrar says many start to self medicate as teenagers.
Farrar recommends you save the Texas Panhandle Poison Center phone number (800) 222-1222 to your contacts in case you ever need it during an emergency.