Most parents agree that storing both over-the-counter medicine and prescription medicine in a safe place and out of the reach of children is very important. In fact, according to a survey by Safe Kids Worldwide, 90% of parents agree it is important to store medicine up high and away from children. However, only 70% were doing it.
Approximately 60,000 children end up in the emergency room every year due to medicine poisoning. Although these numbers have decreased over the years, these numbers could be lower if safe medicine storage was practiced better.
Children, especially toddlers, are very curious. As toddlers grow, they begin to explore and test their new motor development skills. This curiosity and ability to move around and try new things makes getting into medicine and eating it a temptation (especially if it looks like candy to them). Let’s take a look at some tips for safe medicine storage that will help keep your kids safe.
1. Keep Out of Reach and Out of Sight
When finding a safe place to store medicine, keeping it up high and out of reach is a good place to start. However, don’t forget about the possibility of your child climbing onto a chair, counter, or using a toy to access the medicine. In fact, about 50% of over-the-counter poisonings happened when a child climbed onto a chair or used a toy to get the medicine.
Not only is it important to keep the medicine out of reach and up high, but it is also important to keep it out of sight.
2. Put Away Once Finished
Did you know that approximately 60% of medicine poisonings involving young children occured when the medicine wasn’t in its normal storage area? Think about when you or your child is sick and you leave the medicine out on the kitchen or bathroom counter. Although this may be convenient for you, it's also easy access for them.
Also, if you keep your medicine out as a reminder to take it, consider using other ways to remind yourself - such as an app, an alarm, use a medicine schedule card, or leave a note in a place you look often.
3. Keep Medicine in its Original Container
Many medicines come in child-resistant containers. However, approximately one third of the surveyed adults kept their medicines in a daily pill organizer instead of the original container. Children can often get into these organizers if they are not hidden away and kept out of reach.
Also, even if your medicine comes in a child-resistant container, it’s not 100% child-proof. That is why it is still important to keep the container out of their reach. In fact, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commision, in order for a container to be "child resistant," only 80% of the children tested during their standardized procedure must not be able to open the package during a full 10 minutes of testing.
4. Don’t Forget About Vitamins and Supplements
Poisoning can also occur from vitamins and supplements. Make sure to keep these out the reach of your children as well.
5. Don’t Take Medicine in Front of Children
Children like to mimic adults and their older siblings. It’s a part of their developmental process. Therefore, it is important to not take the medicine in front of them. Remember, keep it out of sight!
6. Teach Your Children About Medicine Safety
It is important to teach your children about medicine safety and what medicine is. Also, never refer to medicine as candy in order to get them to take it. Although older children may understand the difference between medicine and candy, it’s still important to keep it out of reach and out of sight.
7. Make Sure Guests Follow Medicine Safety Practices
When your friends or family visit, make sure they also keep their medicines out of sight and out of reach. If purses, bags, or suitcases contain medicine, have them keep them out of sight and reach as well.
Apex Medical Center is a pain clinic in Las Vegas that is dedicated to diagnosing and treating painful conditions. Some of our treatments involve either over-the-counter medicines or prescription medicines. Our pain clinic would like to stress the importance of practicing safe medicine storage for the safety of your children and household.
*Image courtesy of amenic181 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net