Why do they put childproof caps on vitamins?

A STAFF REPORT FROM THE STRAIGHT DOPE SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD

Dear Straight Dope:

Why do they put childproof caps on vitamins? Can people overdose on them?

Jill replies:

Most vitamins don’t cause acute problems if taken as an overdose … unless there is IRON in the mix. Iron can be deadly, and a number of children die every year from ingesting a bottle full of multivitamins with iron. The water soluble vitamins, like C, aren’t a big risk to take in megadoses (except to your pocketbook), but some of the fat soluable vitamins, like A, can cause eventual problems if taken in megadoses over time, because they are stored in the body (and not peed out like C is).

If you have children in the house, keep vitamins locked away with other medications – especially if they contain iron.

Send questions to Cecil via cecil@straightdope.com.

STAFF REPORTS ARE WRITTEN BY THE STRAIGHT DOPE SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD, CECIL'S ONLINE AUXILIARY. THOUGH THE SDSAB DOES ITS BEST, THESE COLUMNS ARE EDITED BY ED ZOTTI, NOT CECIL, SO ACCURACYWISE YOU'D BETTER KEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSSED.

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