Keeping Children Safe from Medicine Poisonings

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Accidental medicine poisonings involving children result in one call every minute to poison control centers around the country, according to a new report from nonprofit organization Safe Kids Worldwide. Learn what you can do to keep this from happening.

Safe Kids Worldwide surveyed parents, and found that many engage in unsafe practices regarding medicines.

Convenience vs Safety? Choose Safety

For instance, 4 in 10 parents said it was okay to keep everyday medicine out where children can see it, and almost half of parents believe it’s okay to keep medicine visible and handy between doses when a child is sick.

However, choosing convenience over safety can lead to tragedy.  In 3 of 5 accidental medicine poisonings involving young children, the medicine wasn’t in its usual safe storage location.

Handy for you can mean it’s handy for kids, so parents should be sure to keep all medicine out of sight and reach after every use. Safe reminders like cell phone or watch alarms, notes or medicine schedules can help create good habits.

Safely Store All Medicines

When asked where medicine needs to be kept in order for it to be safe, nearly 3 in 5 parents said that it simply needs to be stored out of reach of children. Similarly, about half of parents believe that medicine just needs to be out of sight to keep it from prying eyes.

However, research shows that in about half of all poisoning cases, the child climbed up on a chair, toy or other device to reach the medicine. To be completely safe, medicine should be stored out of reach (at or above counter height) and out of sight (in a high cabinet or drawer) at all times.

Many parents are also storing medicine outside its original, child-resistant packaging. 9 in 10 parents say they know medicine should be kept in its original containers, but 1 in 3 reported that they or someone in their home uses daily pill organizers or baggies to manage medicine.

Pill organizers aren’t necessarily unsafe, but they also should be kept out of sight and reach after every use.

Kids Are Curious

No matter how well-behaved a toddler is, young children are very curious, causing them to explore and get into all sorts of things, including medicine.

One- and 2-year-old children are proven to be most at risk for medicine poisoning, so practicing safe storage from the time your baby is born will help make it a safe habit by the time they begin crawling.

1 in 3 parents strongly agree that simply talking to their kids will prevent them from getting into medicine, but young children can’t always tell what’s safe and what’s unsafe.

Just like parents wouldn’t rely on only telling toddlers to stay away from pools to protect them from drowning, just talking to your children isn’t enough to protect them from medicine poisoning.

Here What You Can do to Protect Kids:

  • Store medicine up and away and out of sight and reach every time.
  • Keep medicine in its original child-resistant packaging.
  • Practice safe storage of medicine as soon as your first child is born.
  • Put the Poison Help number – 1-800-222-1222 – into your phone and post it visibly at home.
  • Instead of keeping your medicine handy, use safe reminder tools like cell phone alarms or medication schedules.

That’s good advice. Following it will cut down on calls to that number.

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