What’s inside: The safe medicine storage tips that will keep your child out of the emergency room this summer. Sponsored by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) Educational Foundation.
When you find out you’re expecting a new baby, one of the first things you might do is read up on childproofing your home. However, childproofing guides often miss one thing (or provide inadequate advice).
And it’s SO important.
This hidden danger in almost every home sends tens of thousands of young children to the ER every year.
What is it?
Both prescription and over-the-counter medicines, as well as vitamins, can be extremely dangerous when left in the reach of children.
The statistics are startling. Every year, accidental ingestions by children of medicines and vitamins are responsible for:
- 500,000 calls made to Poison Control Centers
- 60,000+ children rushed to the emergency room
- 25 preventable deaths
Who is most at risk?
According to the CDC, children under age 4 are at the highest risk for accidental poisoning.
I remember feeling paranoid about everything when my daughter was a baby. However, we tend to relax a bit as our kids pass those precarious baby and toddler days.
When it comes to medicine storage, we parents always need to remain vigilant, no matter how old our children.
Don’t forget vitamins!
You would never dream of leaving fireworks on the counter where kids could reach them.
But what about vitamins?
Since vitamins and supplements are considered healthy, we often forget that they could be harmful to children if taken outside the recommended dosing.
Compare the numbers:
Childhood fireworks injuries are responsible for 3000 hospitalizations annually, but accidental poisonings by medicines/vitamins send 20 times more kids to the ER.
Childproof Does Not Equal Foolproof
Child-resistant containers are not enough on their own to keep medicines and vitamins out of little hands. If given enough time, many children will be able find a way to open them. (Check out this video by Pint-Sized Treasures to see just how fast kids can get into a bunch of different bottles).
Child-resistant lids are helpful, and can buy time if your child finds a medicine bottle. However, the best strategy is to make sure that kids never find those medicines in the first place.
Safe Medicine Storage and Tips to Prevent Accidental Poisoning
- Store medicines and vitamins in a location that kids can’t see or reach.
- Keep medicines in their original, labeled containers. If your child would happen to get into a container, it is important to know which one.
- Do not keep pills in dispensers or pill organizers, as these are unlabeled and are not child-resistant.
- Always put away medicines between use, even if you’ll be giving another dose in a couple hours. Never leave medicines out on a counter or in a sick child’s room.
- Avoid telling children that medicines or vitamins are “candy” or “taste like candy.” Always emphasize that medicine is used for a specific purpose and nothing else.
- Ask babysitters or guests to keep any medicines locked in their cars for the time being, as opposed to a purse or bag they might bring into the home.
- Save the Poison Help number 800-222-1222 in all your family’s phones so you will have it in case you need it. You can also text POISON to 797979 to save the contact information in your phone.
Accidental poisonings don’t take a vacation
You’ve made sure to store medicines properly in your own home, but what about at Grandma’s house?
As we head into Summer, many families will be traveling. Take the time to practice safe medicine storage on the road too — it could save lives!
- If visiting friends or family, call ahead of time to ask about medicine in the home and ensure it is properly stored out of sight/reach of children.
- If staying in a hotel, use the room safe to store medicines.
- Keep medicines in their original child-resistant containers as opposed to putting pills in travel containers or plastic bags, which aren’t child-resistant.
Take a few minutes to take action
Seeing the statistics written out is admittedly a little frightening as a parent. However, by taking a few minutes and going through the simple steps above, you can greatly minimize the risk to your children.
I’ll be doing a walk-through of my house and talking to both my girls about medicine safety and I hope you’ll take a few minutes to do so too.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association Educational Foundation. The opinions and text are all mine.
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