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Every 12 Days, a Young Child Dies from Medicine Poisoning [Infographic]

March 15, 2018

New Research Reveals How Kids Get into Medicine and How to Help Protect Them

Washington, D.C. – Ask parents if they know it is important to store medicine out of children’s reach and sight after every use and 9 out of 10 will agree. But accidental medicine poisoning sends a child under 6 to the emergency room every nine minutes, and every 12 days, a child dies.

To shed light on what leads to this troubling situation, Safe Kids Worldwide released a research report today, “Safe Medicine Storage: Recent Trends and Insights for Families and Health Educators.” The report suggests that education efforts are making an impact, but too many children are still getting into medicine.

Read the report and infographic.

“Kids are curious and will explore and taste everything they discover,” said Torine Creppy, President of Safe Kids Worldwide. “That’s why it’s so important for parents to practice safe medicine storage from Day One.”

So how are children getting into medicine?


When it comes to child-resistant packaging, half of parents surveyed said they think “child resistant” means a child won’t be able to get into the medicine at all. However, research suggests that about half of accidental medicine poisonings involved children getting into child-resistant packaging. While child-resistant packaging has helped delay children trying to get into medicine, it is not child-proof. There is no substitute for keeping medicine out of reach and sight.


One in 3 parents surveyed said that if their child is being watched, it doesn’t matter as much where medicines are stored. But, in fact, it does: Parents whose child has gone to the emergency room due to medicine poisoning frequently say that they had only turned their back for a minute when the incident occurred. Even in homes where medicine is normally stored safely, children can quickly get into medicine left out between doses. That’s why it’s essential to put medicine out of reach and sight immediately after each use.


Previous research found that in about half of over-the-counter (OTC) poisoning cases, the child climbed on a toy, a chair or other object to reach the medicine. And while 9 in 10 parents agree that it is important to store medicine out of reach and sight after every use, nearly 7 in 10 parents reported storing medicine within a child’s sight. To be safe, medicine should be stored out of reach (above counter height) and out of sight (like in a high cabinet) at all times.


  • Put all medicine up and away, out of children’s reach and sight. Remember to keep visitors’ purses, bags and coats out of reach as well, as they may contain medicine.
  • Remember child-resistant does not mean childproof. So put medicine away immediately after every use, even if you need to give another dose in a few hours.
  • Save the Poison Help number in your phone: 1-800-222-1222.

For more medicine safety tips, visit

National Poison Prevention Week is March 18 – 24, 2018.

Download the report and infographic created by Safe Kids Worldwide with support from Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.

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Safe Kids Worldwide is a nonprofit organization working to protect kids on the road, at home and at play. Preventable injuries are the number one cause of death for children in the United States. Throughout the world, almost one million children die of an injury each year, and almost every one of these tragedies is preventable. Safe Kids works with an extensive network of more than 400 coalitions in the U.S. and with partners in more than 30 countries to reduce traffic injuries, drownings, falls, burns, poisonings and more. Since 1988, Safe Kids has helped reduce the U.S. childhood death rate from unintentional injury by 60 percent. Working together, we can do much more to protect kids. Join our effort at