“The children I’ve cared for and heard about at our hospital all recovered,” said Dr. Lois Lee, an associate professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School. “But some had to be hospitalized for treatment and monitoring. And others were in the emergency department for hours, while their parents waited for them to improve enough so they could be safely discharged home.”
What should you do if your child has eaten cannabis?
If you believe that your child might have ingested cannabis, call Poison Control to speak with someone right away, Dr. Lee said.
Poison Control can also advise you as to when it is necessary to seek medical care.
If your child has more severe symptoms — for example, he or she is vomiting, seizing, having trouble breathing or not waking up — it is best to go straight to the emergency room, where the doctors can run toxicology tests and provide oxygen and other treatments if needed, Dr. Lee added.
“Many children don’t require any substantial treatment, just observation until they wake up,” she said.
How can you protect children from accidental ingestion?
First, don’t assume that child-resistant packaging alone will prevent a determined child from eating your edibles.
“Parents and caregivers should always store cannabis products, especially edibles, safely out of reach of children,” Dr. Whitehill said. “Kids are really clever and some kids just get into everything, so actually locking it away — the way one would do with certain medications — is a good idea.”
“Locked is best, if possible,” agreed Kaitlyn Brown, the clinical managing director of the American Association of Poison Control Centers. “Parents think they have something up on top of the fridge, completely out of reach, out of sight, and the next thing they know their 2-year-old is a climber and is scaling the counter.”