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Children are curious by nature, and it makes sense that they would be even more curious when it comes to medication. Many medications look and taste like candy. While it’s important to encourage our kids to explore and discover new things, when it comes to medication, we want to be careful to keep them safe. Here are a few tips to show you how.
The Hard Facts
Medications are the leading cause of child poisoning. Every year, more than 67,000 children go to an emergency room for medicine poisoning. That’s one child every eight minutes. Almost all of these visits are because the child got into medicines during a moment alone.
- Put all medicines up and away and out of sight including your own. Make sure that all medicines and vitamins 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 places where kids get into medicine. Kids get into medication in all sorts of places, like in purses and nightstands. In 67% of emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the medicine was left within reach of a child, such as in a purse, on a counter or dresser or on the ground.
- Consider products you might not think about as medicines. Most parents store medicine up and away - or at least the products they consider to be medicine. They may not think about products such as diaper rash remedies, vitamins or eye drops as medicine, but they actually are and need to be stored safely.
- 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 or tablespoon used for cooking won't measure the same amount as the dosing device. Use the dosing device that comes with the medicine to prevent dosing errors.
- Put the toll-free Poison Help number into 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 the babysitters and caregivers can see it. And remember, the poison help number is not just for emergencies, you can call with questions about how to take or give medicine.
Medication safety is especially important for children under 5, but every parent will want to learn all they can about medication safety. Here are some additional tips to help you out.