We take medications and vitamins to feel and stay well, but according to the CDC, more than 60,000 young children are hospitalized every year for consuming medicine when their caretaker is not looking. It is important to remember that even non-prescription medication is potentially dangerous if taken incorrectly. Children are not the only demographic at risk; adults may “look for something in the cabinet” for a headache and take a potentially dangerous medicine. A good rule of thumb to follow is that all medicines and vitamins should be kept up, away, and out of a child’s reach and sight.

Below are a few tips to help prevent medication accidents in your own home:
  • Put medicines and vitamins out of reach and out of sight: Young children are curious and will put pretty much anything in their mouths. Walk around your house and decide on the safest place to keep medicine and vitamins. Hardware and department stores often sell “child-proof” locks to help deter little fingers from opening the medicine cabinet.
  • Put medicines and vitamins away every time: It may be tempting to leave your daily multi-vitamin on the counter or prescription antibiotic at a sick child’s bedside; but, taking the time to properly store medication can save you time and keep you from panicking in the future.
  • Wait for the click: Many medication and vitamin bottles are child-proof and include a lock that “clicks” when activated. When closing your bottles, wait for the “click” to ensure the bottle is fully closed. Do not let “child-proof” bottles give you a false sense of security. Keep these bottles out of reach and sight.
  • Talk to your guests: Ask houseguests and visitors to keep purses, bags, or coats that have medicine in them up, away, and out of sight while in your home, or offer to store the medication in a safe place for your guest.
Even if you are not at your own home, proper medication storage is important. Below are a few tips to help protect your child anywhere:
  • Teach your children about medicine safety: Education is always the best step to prevention. Teach your children what medicine is and why you must be the one to give it to them. Regardless of how much your child does not want to take his or her medicine, never tell them medicine is candy. Children are naturally curious and they may go exploring for “candy” in Grandma’s purse.
  • Be prepared in case of an emergency: Call Poison Control right away if you think your child ingested medicine or vitamins you did not give him or her. It is a good idea to program Poison Control’s phone number (1.800.222.1222) into your cell phone so you are prepared in the event an accident happens.

With a few simple preventive steps, you can rest a bit easier with a little one in your home. Making safe medication storage a year-long habit is a great way to reduce the risk of harm from medications. To learn more about medication safety, visit the CDC’s  website.

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