NEW YORK (AP) — Sen. Charles Schumer on Sunday called for safer packaging for children's medicine bottles in order to help prevent an estimated 10,000 emergency room visits a year.
The New York Democrat says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission should require so-called flow restrictors on bottles of children's medicines such as cough syrups and painkillers.
The flow restrictor is a type of safety valve that fits into the neck of a bottle and slows the release of fluid.
"Flow restrictors will save lives, save money from reduced emergency room visits and cost almost nothing to implement, so the question is, why on earth wouldn't we require they be used?" Schumer said. "We believe the FDA and CPSC have the authority to get this done, and they need to get started right away."
An investigation published last month by Consumer Reports and ProPublica found that making the devices mandatory could prevent roughly 10,000 emergency room visits each year by young children who drink too much medicine.
The ProPublica report says that drug makers have added restrictors to infants' and children's acetaminophen but have not installed the devices on bottles of other medicines such as antihistamines, ibuprofen and cough and cold preparations.
Schumer said the restrictors cost less than 10 cents a bottle.