Medical Journal warns of supplement dangers

Seemingly harmless things that sit on our kitchen benches, in our bathroom cabinets or handbags, can be dangerous to young children.

This was the finding of an important study published recently in the world’s leading medical journal, the New England Journal of Medicine. The authors found that in the US, about 4,830 young children were treated in emergency departments each year for unintended negative effects of dietary supplements, herbal products, vitamins and minerals and herbal and homeopathic preparations that are applied to the skin.

The study found that iron overdose has been one of the leading causes of poisoning death in children younger than 6 years, and that iron supplements are the second most commonly taken supplement by unsupervised children. This is despite the requirement for supplements containing iron to be in child-resistant packaging. No such requirement exists for other dietary supplements.

The findings have prompted the authors to recommend: “Innovative safety packaging and targeted education on safe storage” to help reduce the unsupervised ingestion of supplements by children. 


Reference: New England Journal of Medicine (Oct. 15, 2015)