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Medication Safety for Babies
Many medications for babies and small children look and taste like candy or food. While this might make it easier for little ones to take medicines, it also means parents need to be extra careful to keep medicines up and away when not being used. Here are some simple tips to ensure your baby’s safety.
Top Safety Tips
- 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% of emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the child got into medicine belonging to an adult.)
- Even if you are tempted to keep it handy, put medicine out of reach after every use. When you need to give another dose in just a few hours, it may be tempting to keep medicine close at hand. 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.
- Talk to your kids about medication safety. Even if their medication tastes good, don’t compare it to candy to encourage kids to take it.
- Close your medicine tightly after every use. Buy medicines that come in child-resistant packages when you can. But remember, child-resistant does not mean child-proof, and some children will still be able to get into medicine given enough time and persistence. Make sure you close the package tightly after each use.
- Educate grandparents. It is estimated that in 38 percent of ER visits involving a medicine poisoning, the medicine belonged to a grandparent. Talk to grandparents about being extra mindful with medicine or pillboxes when children are around.
- Consider places where kids get into medicine. Kids get into medication in all sorts of places, like in purses and nightstands. (In 67% 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.)
- Be alert to visitors’ medicine. Well-meaning visitors may not be thinking about the medicines they have brought with them in their belongings. When you have guests in your home, offer to put purses, bags and coats out of reach of children to protect their property from a curious child. (In 43% of cases, the medicine a child got into belonged to a relative, such as an aunt, uncle or grandparent.)
- Use the dosing device that comes with the medicine. Proper dosing is important, particularly for young children. 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.