Accidental edible consumption in kids increase by 1,300%

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — Toddlers have a habit of putting whatever they can get their hands on into their mouth and that can be dangerous. According to the journal Pediatrics, nationwide, the number of children that have been accidentally exposed to THC edibles has increased by more than 1300%.

At a glance, a jar of colorful gummies may look like candy.

“Edibles have become very very popular in the last four to five years,” said Dillon Beyer, owner of Tree-Huggers Co-op on the Northside. “Every day our top products are edible products.”

In the hands of a child, it could land them in the emergency room.

“It’s very easy to get an overdose situation under those circumstances, ” said Gundersen Health System toxicologist Ben Orozco. “There’s been an astronomical rise in the scope of this problem in a short period of time.”

Orozco says edibles can have a variety of effects on children, including vomiting and in some cases, a coma. Nearly all of the children who have accidentally eaten edibles ere under the age of six. Orozco says La Crosse is no different.

“We probably saw in the neighborhood of 10 cases just in the course of a month or two,” said Orozco.

The reason behind the increase? Packaging that resembles candy.

“It makes it look more appealing, it makes it look more delicious,” said Beyer.

Beyer says many brands market edibles as colorful candies and characters.

“Just by the way that they look, because they do look like they’re marketed to kids, and that is a big no,” Beyer said.

Over 90% of children who have accidentally eaten edibles found them at home.

“Brands that need to just lead with, just very basic, medical looking packaging,” Beyer said.

Last summer, the state of Minnesota passed a law making it illegal for companies to sell edibles that look like candy, animals, or fruit. Orozco says as long as candy-like packaging continues, doctors can expect more cases.

“The insanity of having candy flavored poison in the home is something we’re all going to regret one day,” Orozco said.

Beyer says if you have any CBD or THC gummies in your home, treat it like any other medication – store it in a locked cabinet, away from children.  If your child eats an edible, seek help immediately.