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Accidental Overdose Risks For Babies & Toddlers

We have often said that America’s opioid crisis carries a large amount of collateral damage. And one of the worst side effects of this epidemic relates back to the innocent lives lost. Babies and toddlers, in particular, have been put at serious risk, with accidental overdose rates among their age set rising at an astronomical rate.

According to new research, opioid ODs among children increased by more than 268 percent over the past two decades. This can relate back to little ones getting into a medicine cabinet or swallowing harmful substances that put their underdeveloped immune systems at risk.

One big call out in recent months involves the deadly synthetic opioid, fentanyl. Dubbed one of the most dangerous drugs in America, it has been known to easily cause fatal overdoses among adult users. Now imagine how much damage it can inflict to a child five years or less.

One alarming headline from earlier in the year chronicled the tragic death of 13-month-old Liam Savoy O’Neill. A few months back, he was found dead alongside his father in their family home. The dad, Patrick Savoy O’Neill, had fatally overdosed on fentanyl. Shortly thereafter, Liam got ahold of the substance and ingested it himself. By the time paramedics arrived, both were gone.

“The nation is experiencing an opioid epidemic,” local prosecutor Eric Smith proclaimed after the Savoy O’Neill story became public. “However, to see an infant experience such a tragic death as a result of ingesting a large quantity of her parents’ fentanyl is truly gut-wrenching.”

And let’s not forget that there are many other ways for toddlers and infants to lose their lives because of this crisis. Impaired parent drivers have caused fatal crashes with children on board. And neglect has sadly led to premature deaths as well. There are many occasions where a caretaker will fatally overdose and a small child in the home may ultimately perish from starvation.

Using also causes erratic behavior from those within the household. Being in the throws of an addiction can easily cloud a person’s judgement. With tolerance levels low, there have also been instances of parents physically abusing babies to get them to stop crying. So aggressively, in fact, that premature death occurred.

Obviously, these are stories that need to be heard. Baby and toddler deaths are one of the most tragic consequences of the crisis and we hope that message is heard loud and clear from those who have the power to make a change.