UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – With kids back in the classrooms, it’s important to remind children not to hop on the bandwagon when it comes to experimenting with drugs and online video trends.

The 2021-2022 school year saw the most calls for kids unintentionally poisoned by over-the-counter pain medications like Motrin & Tylenol.

“For the Mohawk Valley area, the number one call across all age cohorts, you know, that school-age cohort, was pain medication,” said Michele Caliva, Administrative Director at the Upstate NY Poison Center. “Which is not surprising, that’s what we see number one, actually, all the time across most cohorts.”

She continued, “You know, you give your child a dose of acetaminophen, and quite honestly, it tastes good, and it sort of gets left on the counter, and the little one comes and grabs it.”

And for kids ages six to 12, the top three calls made to the Upstate NY Poison Center for kids of this age bracket were due to poisoning from pain medications as mentioned earlier, but also, from cosmetic & personal care products, as well as antihistamines.

“There is often a misconception because it’s over the counter that it’s not gonna make them really sick, which we know isn’t true,” said Caliva, “Any kind of medication that you have in your home – whether it be prescribed or over the counter – please keep it in a locked box, and keep it up and away, and safely out of the reach of children who may not understand.”

And the top three calls for the 13 to 19-year age bracket were also from poisoning due to pain medications and antihistamines, but also, antidepressants; With an increase in the number of intentional poisoning cases in kids in this age group, and unfortunately, the numbers increase every year.

And while dangerous, viral trends like the Benadryl challenge, Tide Pod challenge, or cinnamon challenge are prone to circulate, there are other, less noticeable factors to be aware of.

“Spending time and checking in with your child and making sure that they are okay, that they’re not showing signs of being depressed, or anxious, or hurting in any way, and then if that’s the case, getting the appropriate help,” said Caliva.

The National Suicide and Crisis Hotline is now available, 24/7, 365 days a year, by dialing 988, and the Upstate NY Poison Center number is linked here.

So, if you have a child heading back to the classroom, be sure to sit down with them ahead of this school year to make sure everyone stays out of harm’s way.