The patch contains fentanyl, used to treat patients in constant pain. An overdose of fentanyl—caused when the child either swallows the patch or applies it to his or her own skin—can cause death by slowing breathing and increasing the levels of carbon dioxide in the blood.
There have been 26 cases of accidental exposure to fentanyl since 1997, most of them involving children younger than 2 years old. There have been 10 deaths and an additional 12 cases requiring hospitalization.
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