Reports of children poisoned by eating marijuana edibles increases

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More King County children were reported poisoned by accidentally eating marijuana edibles thsi year.

Thirty percent of marijuana intoxications involve children, 5 years old or younger, in 2015 alone.

Of the children sickened, 73 percent needed an evaluation at a hospital.

The Washington Poison Center says in the first half of this year, it received 32 calls about children suffering from marijuana exposure — an increase from 24 in the first half of 2014.

Dr. Alexander Garrard says that doesn't necessarily mean more kids are actually being exposed to pot. The Washington Poison Center has been doing more to promote its hotline, and some producers of marijuana edibles have even put the number on their packaging. So the increased calls could simply reflect increased public knowledge of the poison center, or people may feel more comfortable calling for help now that marijuana is legal.

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Health officials say most of the pediatric poisonings happen when a child finds marijuana-containing products such as candy, chocolate or baked goods left around a home.

Washington public health officials warn about marijuana exposure -- as more King County children are reported poisoned...

Posted by KIRO 7 Eyewitness News on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

"The majority of pediatric poisonings occur unintentionally. Marijuana edibles left lying around on the coffee table or next to snacks can easily fall into the hands of young kids," said Dr. Alexander Garrard, clinical managing director of the Washington Poison Center. "Children should be supervised, and marijuana edibles should be left up high out of reach of kids or locked in cabinets."

Public health officials say marijuana intoxication in children can lead to anxiety attacks, psychotic-like symptoms, seizures, and respiratory depression.

In Washington, parents and others who need advice about possible marijuana poisoning can call Washington Poison Center at 800-222-1222.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.