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Medication Safety

Did You Know?

  • Medications are the leading cause of child poisoning.
  • Thirty-eight percent of child poisoning involves a grandparent’s medication.
  • Half of the 2 million calls to poison control centers in 2011 were for exposures and ingestions among kids 5 and under.
  • For every 10 poison exposures in children, approximately nine occur at home.

Working for Change

Children under 5 are at greatest risk for unintentional medication poisonings.

Safe Kids works to decrease preventable medication-related injuries and deaths to young children by promoting important messages in the community and in media.

Our education efforts are targeted to parents, grandparents and other caregivers who care for young children. Safe Kids provides education on responsible storage, dosing and disposal of medicines. At the local level, our coalition network connects directly with parents and caregivers by providing workshops and distributing education materials and tools to assist with creating a safe environment for curious young children.

We offer a variety of resources to our coalitions to help educate their local communities. These resources include tip sheets, magnets to hang on the fridge with facts about medication, a video, and script pads to keep track of timing and amount of dosage.

Research

Safe Kids conducts research to study the attitudes and behaviors of parents and grandparents around medication safety. These reports enable Safe Kids to shape a powerful communication message to the public and help inform programmatic decisions. 

Public Policy

We urge government to enhance the structure and stabilize funding for poison control centers.  The poison control center network benefits society in two ways. First, the network reduces medical costs by fostering more efficient and effective care. Second, consultation with a poison control center by medical staff has been shown to decrease the length of stay for patients admitted to a health care facility from approximately 6.5 days to 3.5 days. This results in an average saving of more than $2,000 per patient. 

Partners

This program is made possible with support from McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson. McNeil began a partnership with Safe Kids in 2012 to raise awareness about safe medication practices. 

Additional Resources

We also offer the following tools to teach and remind families about unintentional medication poisoning:

Stats on children and medication safety