Kids, Drugs, and Candy

Having children always keeps me on my toes! I am one of those parents who is always checking up on the kids — it drives my wife crazy! I have to admit this obsessive-compulsive behavior of mine could drive anyone crazy. But can you blame me? I have spent most of my adult life in hospitals! One of the most heartbreaking things I see is when a child is rushed into the emergency department with an accidental overdose or poisoning.

Each year more than 6,000 people die and an estimated 300,000 suffer disabilities as a result of unintentional poisoning. Not all are children but they certainly are the most vulnerable. I read a story in the New York Post about a two-year old who died after swallowing cocaine left around her Bronx apartment by her mother's suspected drug dealer boyfriend. The mother and her boyfriend were charged with several counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Talk about unfit parents! According to police, the girl probably thought the drugs were candy. I was very sad for that little girl. She never had a chance! Children need supervision and a safe home environment.

If you have children, one of the most fundamental things you MUST DO is to poison-proof your home. There is no such thing as a childproof home, but we have to try. Illicit drugs, like in the Bronx case, are not the only culprits in accidental poisoning. In fact, the drugs found in most medicine cabinets, if not used correctly, can be very harmful to a child. IT ONLY TAKES ONE PILL! Vitamins and medications containing iron can be potential threats to children. So can vitamins that look like cartoon characters or taste like candy. People who visit may carry medications in coat pockets or purses — the perfect hunting grounds for a curious child.

Here are some more tips for keeping kids safe:

• Never tell children that medicine taste like candy or that it is candy
• Never take medicine in front of children
• Don't leave a child and a poison alone
• Always be sure that a teenage baby-sitter has an adult contact
• Share poison safety information with the entire family
• Always keep the numbers of your local poison control handy

For more information I urge you to read more on this topic at:

I’ve gotten a lot of email from people who saw my report on the links between teenage pot smoking and psychosis. If you want to know more about it, go to:

Keep the e-mails coming, we read them all! We answer them on FOX News Live on Wednesdays at 10:48 am ET (unless there is breaking news) and we’ll be answering them here too! Here are a couple:

"Regarding your segment today on Staph infections, I don't think that 'nausation' is a word. I checked in two dictionaries, one being a medical dictionary. By the way, I enjoy your reports and find them very helpful." — Marilyn

"Thanks for not downplaying bird flu! I’m a healthcare professional as well and this is worrisome. Most importantly, like with hurricanes (we just survived hurricanes in Florida), preparation is everything! So many send their kids sick to school and go to work sick. It makes me angry.
Many are also in denial. Strangely enough, there is an unfair label on the heads of those who believe that Christians are going overboard with bird flu, end of world, etc. I hate to tell you, but it’s true. Bird flu is not a good thing. Please see to it that you keep covering the story. I always enjoy your blogs and seeing you on FOX News!" — Cindy

P.S. Don't forget to watch FOX News Channel. And please feel free to write to me at DRMANNY@FOXNEWS.COM and tell me what you think. Ask a question, share a thought, share a remedy — We'll try to answer all of your mail online or on the air.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit