Children eating dangerous gummy products on the rise in Alabama

Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 10:08 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Last month, 13 Birmingham middle schoolers got sick from eating an unknown type of candy. It’s not clear what those students ingested, but the director of The Alabama Poison Information Center said gummy product exposures are increasing.

Medicines, vitamins, supplements - all come in gummy form now and Ann Slattery with The Alabama Poison Information Center said gummy products can be alluring to children and dangerous if too much is eaten.

Slattery said 16,590 children under six-years-old were exposed to something toxic last year.

“A little less than 22,000 of our calls did involve children less than 18 of age,” she said. “Gummy ingestions have increased overall.”

Slattery said since gummy products are growing in popularity, exposures are going up.

83 kids under 18 were reported to have ingested legal THC products, like Delta-8 gummies last year, out of the 22,000 calls reported. How toxic a gummy is depends on a child’s weight and how much is ingested, but Slattery said cleaning supplies, cosmetics, and medicines can also be extremely dangerous and need to be put away.

“Anything that is potentially dangerous should be behind a locked door or a locked drawer,” Slattery said. “If it is a medicine, even if it is a gummy medicine, it needs to be put in a lock box so children don’t have access to it.”

Slattery said they are often able to help children on the phone, without needing to go to the emergency room.

“Of those pediatric patients that are reported to us that are under the age of six, we keep 92% of those at home,” Slattery said. “We are going to do our calculations on their body weight and determine if they are in any danger.”

Slattery said they offer signs and symptoms to look out for and follow up with every call.

WBRC reached out to officials with Birmingham schools for an update on what type of candy the 13 middle schoolers ingested, but did not hear back.

You can reach the poison information center at 1-800-222-1222 for poison advice for all ages.

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