Medication Safety

Medication SafetyNew findings have been released about keeping kids safe around medicine, and the results may surprise you. Every parent knows to keep medicine up and away from children; however, kids are still getting into medicine at an alarming rate. Last year approximately 500,000 calls were made to poison control centers.

Medications are the leading cause of child poisoning. Every year, more than 67,000 children go to an emergency room for medicine poisoning. That’s one child every eight minutes.  Almost all of these visits are because the child got into medicines while their parent or caregiver wasn’t looking.  So here are a few new tips to help you keep medication out of the hands of children.

Put medicines up and away and out of sight
Make sure that all medicines, including vitamins and adult medicines, are stored out of reach and out of sight of children. (In 86 percent of emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the child got into medicine belonging to an adult.)

Consider places where kids get into medicine
Kids get into medication in all sorts of places, like in purses and nightstands.  In 67 percent of cases, the medicine was within reach of a child, such as in a purse, left on a counter or dresser or found on the ground.

Consider products you might not think about as medicines
Most parents know to store medicine up and away, or at least the products they consider to be medicine. But they don’t always think about products such as diaper rash remedies or eye drops, which may not seem like medicine but can cause harm.

Use the dosing device that comes with the medicine
Proper dosing is important, particularly for young children. Use the dosing device that comes with the medicine. Kitchen spoons aren’t all the same, and a teaspoon and tablespoon used for cooking won’t measure the same amount as the dosing device.

Put the toll-free number for the Poison Control Center (800) 222-1222 into your home and cell phone. You should also post it near your phone or on your refrigerator for the babysitter. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but it’s nice to have just in case.