Today’s world is a fast-moving and busy place. Parents often struggle to balance competing demands while working hard to make safe and healthy choices for their families. With more medicines in the home than ever before, parents face increasing challenges to protect their children from accidental medicine poisonings.
Every day, poison control centers get a call almost once a minute because a young child got into medicine and emergency departments see enough children each day to fill roughly four school buses for the same reason.
You wouldn’t rely on only telling toddlers to stay away from pools to protect them from drowning, and it’s the same with medicine. Young children are naturally impulsive, and parents can’t rely on just talking to them about the dangers of medicine.
Here are some steps your family can take to keep young children safe from accidental poisoning:
Store all medicine up and away and out of sight and reach every time.
Safe medicine storage means out of sight and out of reach, not one or the other. To be safe, medicine should be stored out of sight in a cabinet or drawer where children can’t see it and out of reach (at or above counter height).
Keep medicine in its original child-resistant packaging. If you or another family member do choose to use a pill organizer or baggie to help manage taking medicine, make sure you always store it up and away and out of sight and reach.
Practice safe storage of medicine as soon as your first child is born. Babies as young as 3 weeks of age have ended up in the emergency department after getting into medicine left within reach.
Put the Poison Help number – 1-800-222-1222 – into your phone and post it visibly at home.
Instead of keeping medicine handy, use safe reminder tools to help you remember when to take and give doses.
Set an alarm on your watch or cell phone or write a note to yourself and leave it somewhere you look often, like on the refrigerator door. Try combining taking daily medicines with a daily task like brushing your teeth or using a medication schedule card.