March 20th through March 27th marks Safe Kids Worldwide National Poison Prevention Week. This year, I am glad to partner with Mom Central and Safe Kids Worldwide to bring everyone a reminder about the importance of keeping medicines up and out of reach. While we are very fortunate and have never had any accidents involving our children and medicine, there are so many others who have had to face this scary situation.
When our children were small, we always kept all of the household medication safely stored in a high kitchen cabinet that was out of reach. I never stored medicine in the bathroom where I couldn’t keep an eye on it at all times. Now that the children are older, we still keep our medication in a kitchen cabinet that is always in full view of our living space. This may not be ideal for everyone but it’s what works for our family. Since we now have a grand-baby who is often at our home, we will need to be even more diligent in the way we store our medication. She will be crawling around before we know it! We’ve become lax over the years so I’m glad to have this refresher on how to properly keep our children and grandchild safe.
Facts about kids and medicine safety.
The statistics can be scary. A recently released Safe Kids Worldwide research report found that a child gets into medicine or receives the wrong dose of medicine 500,000 times per year! About every 8 minutes, a little one is taken to the Emergency Room for medicine poisoning. What’s especially concerning is that this is a 30% increase over the past 10 years.
Kate Carr, President and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, says: “Ask any parent, and they will tell you they store medicine where children can’t get them, but they might not be thinking of pills stored in purses, vitamins left on counter tops or a diaper rash remedy near a changing table.”
Looking at this report, I can at least be happy that we have always stored our medicine in the least likely place for a child to get into it — the cabinet has just a 6% rate of children getting into it compared to the other places shown on the cart. Besides proper medicine storage, my other big tip is dosage.
Always Read the Bottle!
While proper storage is extremely important, making sure to dose correctly is another step parents and caregivers need to be aware of. No matter if I’ve taken or given a medicine more times than I can count, I always always always read the bottle, check the dosage instruction and make sure to use the correct dose container before I give or take any medication. It can be so easy to grab the wrong bottle of medication without even thinking about it. By checking the label and instructions EVERY single time, I have avoided accidentally dosing with the wrong medicine.
Medicine Safety Tips – Don’t let your guard down!
Safe Kids Worldwide has put together a list of easy steps we can take to keep our children safe. By following these simple tips every day, we can help prevent our children from accidentally overdosing on medications. It takes just a second for a child to get into something they shouldn’t so always be alert and aware of the medications in your home. To learn more about how to keep kids safe, visit SafeKids.org and check out the Safe Storage, Safe Dosing, Safe Kids educational video. It’s easy to share via your social media accounts to help raise awareness during Safe Kids Worldwide National Poison Prevention Week.
Please share these tips with visitors and with those who care for your child outside of their home to ensure your child is safe both inside and outside of the home.
Put medicines up and away and out of sight.
Make sure that all medications, including vitamins and adult medicines, are stored out of reach and out of sight of children. In 86% of emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the child got into medicine belonging to an adult.
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 eye drops or vitamins, which may not seem like medicine but actually are. Look around your home to see what products are within the reach of children and may be harmful, then move them up and away.
Be alert to visitors’ medicine.
When you have visitors in your home, offer to put purses, bags and coats out of reach of children to protect their property from a curious child. Well meaning visitors may not be thinking about the medicines that they have brought with them in their belongings. In 43% of emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the child got into medicine belonging to a relative, such as an aunt, uncle or grandparent.
Put medicines up and away after EVERY use
It may be tempting to keep medicine close at hand when you need to give another dose of medicine in just a few hours. Accidents can happen fast. It only takes a few seconds for children to get into medicine that could make them very sick. Put medicine up and away after every use. And if you need a reminder, set an alarm on your watch or cell phone, or write yourself a note.
Read the label and know what’s in the medicine.
Take the time to read the label and follow the directions on your child’s medicine. Check the active ingredients listed on the label. Don’t give your child more than one medicine with the same active ingredient. Giving your child two or medicines that have the same active ingredient can put your child at risk for an overdose.
Put the Poison Control number in your home and cell phone: 1-800-222-1222.
You can also put the number on your refrigerator or another place in your home where babysitters can see it.