Today there are more medicines in the home than ever before, and this increases the potential risk to children of accidental medicine poisoning. Every year, more than 59,000 young children are seen in emergency rooms because they got into medicine while a caregiver wasn’t looking. Almost every minute of every day, there’s a call to a poison center because a young child got into medicine. Most families believe they’re being careful about storing medicine away from children, but the alarming number of children being rushed to emergency rooms with medicine poisoning shows we need to do a better job to protect children from medicine poisoning.
The Texas Poison Center Network has these tips to help you prevent medicine poisoning-
- Put all medicine up and away and out of sight.In 86% of emergency department visits for medicine poisoning, the child got into medicine belonging to a parent or grandparent.
- Consider places where kids get into medicine. Kids get into medication in all sorts of places, like in purses and nightstands. Place purses and bags in high locations, and avoid leaving medicine on a nightstand or dresser. In 2 out of 3 emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the medicine was left within reach of a child.
- Consider products you might not think about as medicine. Health products such as vitamins, diaper rash creams, eye drops and even hand sanitizer can be harmful if kids get into them. Store these items up, away and out of sight, just as you would traditional medicine.
- Only use the dosing device that comes with the medicine. Kitchen spoons aren’t all the same, and a teaspoon or tablespoon used for cooking won’t measure the same amount of medicine as a dosing device.
- Write clear instructions for caregivers about your child’s medicine.When other caregivers are giving your child medicine, they need to know what medicine to give, how much to give and when to give it. Using a medicine schedule can help with communication between caregivers.
- Save the Poison Help line in your phone: 1-800-222-1222.Put the toll-free number for the Poison Center into your home and cell phones. You can also put the number on your refrigerator or another place in your home where babysitters and caregivers can see it. And remember, the Poison Help line is not just for emergencies, you can call with questions about how to take or give medicine.
For more information, call your local poison center at1-800-222-1222. Poison centers are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year for poisoning emergencies and for informational calls, too.