A new warning about kids getting into your medication: Most medications are equipped with a “child safety cap.” Adults have trouble with these caps, so it is easy to assume they really are “childproof” – after all, you have to push down, and twist to open them. A new study shows an alarming increase in kids being rushed to emergency rooms, poisoned by common medications we all have in our homes
Read more safety tips from SafeKids.org
The Realities of Childhood Poisonings
The child resistant safety cap was introduced by makers of medication bottles and other household product bottles to address the concern about children getting access to them and ingesting dangerous products or dangerous amounts of a certain product. Here are some sobering statistics: There has been a 30 percent spike over the past decade in young kids accidentally poisoned by medication. In 2011 alone, 67,000 children were rushed to hospitals for it.
Poison Prevention Tips
As with most parenting issues, we can’t afford to be complacent about our medicine cabinets and under-the-sink household cleaner storage areas. So keep these poison prevention tips in mind:
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.)
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.)
Most parents know to store medicine up and away “ or at least the products they consider to be medicine. But they don’t always think about products such as diaper rash remedies or eye drops, which may not seem like medicine but actually are.
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.)
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.
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.
Proper dosing is important, particularly for young children. Use the dosing device that comes with the medicine. 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.
Take the time to read the label and follow the directions on your child’s medicine. Check the active ingredients listed on the label. Make sure you don’t give your child more than one medicine with the same active ingredient. Giving your child two or more medicines that have the same active ingredient can put your child at risk for an overdose.
If you are depending on someone else to give your child medicine, communicate clearly to avoid double dosing or dosing errors. (More than 67,000 parents call poison control centers about dosing errors each year.) Write clear instructions to other caregivers including what medicine to give, when to give it and the correct dose.
Never assume that anything is 100% safe “ or child proof. If there is one thing I think we’ve all learned from our children is that they’re more capable than we think they are, and they’re always surprising us with what they can do. But the surprise should never come with the fear that comes from realizing a pill bottle or household cleaner container is empty, and it shouldn’t be.