During the winter months we see more colds and illnesses taking its toll on families. While we are thankful for the over-the-counter remedies to lessen our symptoms, keep in mind that children don’t understand the dangers of over medicating. The medicines are pretty colors and usually have a great taste to get kids to take them easier. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
FOR KIDS UNDER 5 YEARS OF AGE:
- Put medicine up and away, out of sight.
- Check purses, nightstands, counters, etc. to make sure it’s not easily accessible.
- Products such as diaper rash cream, vitamins, eye drops, etc. can also be poisonous if ingested by young children.
- Use the dosing device that comes with the medication. Kitchen spoons are not all the same size.
- Write clear instructions for caregivers about your child’s medicine.
- Track when you give medication on a form like this one. 5 Med Schedule-Med 2014
FOR KIDS 6-10 YEARS OF AGE:
- Model responsible medicating behavior. Don’t refer to candy as medicine or vice versa.
- Teach your child that medicine should always be given by an adult to ensure correct dosage.
- Take time to read the medicine labels with your child, even over-the-counter medicine.
FOR KIDS 11 YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER:
- Teach kids how to read over-the-counter labels. Great tips can be found at http://www.scholastic.com/otcmedsafety/
- Talk to older kids about the importance of only taking medicine that is meant for them.
- Instruct older kids that medicine labels are rules not guidelines.
- Check in with older kids and talk about medicine they’re taking regularly. Many kids this age are self-dosing over-the-counter medicines (cold medicine, headache medicine, etc.).
Always keep the Poison Control number handy in case you need them. 1.800.222.1222. They can also answer questions about how to take or give medicine, concerns about plants, chemicals, carbon monoxide, bites, stings and more.