When childproofing their home, most parents know to keep medications out of their child’s reach. However, many accidental poisonings still occur every year despite parental precautions, and the majority of these emergency room visits are related to medications that a child got into when a parent or caregiver was not looking. Therefore, it is important for every parent to pay attention to these new tips regarding medication safety tips for kids so they can ensure their child is safe from the threat of an accidental poisoning.
Store Medications Out of Sight
For most children, out of sight does mean out of mind. Therefore, one of the best steps parents can take to prevent an accidental poisoning is to store all medications out of their child’s sight. Ideally, this storage space should be in a high cabinet in a room in which children have limited access such as a master bathroom or the kitchen.
Lock it Up
Simply storing medications out of sight may not be enough to deter a curious child. In fact, knowing that a cabinet is forbidden may pique a child’s curiosity. Parents of climbers should especially be aware that a high cabinet may not stop a child from climbing on countertops of pulling out a ladder. Therefore, installing a childproof lock on any cabinets with medication can ensure that little hands will never get a hold of dangerous medications.
Check Purses and Bags
When checking their home to make sure it complies with medication safety tips for kids guidelines, many parents forget to check their purses and bags. However, most adults keep some type of medication in their purse for pain relief or to treat a health condition. Because children love to explore the items in a person’s bag or purse left unattended for even a moment, this can set the stage for an accidental poisoning. When entertaining guests, parents should always provide a safe place for them to store their belongings to avoid children coming across medication that a parent may not even be aware is in their home.
Watch for Overlooked Medications
Many commonly used items are overlooked as medications, yet they can be just as dangerous as a prescription drug if ingested by a child. Therefore, parents should scan their home environment to determine if there are any over-the-counter medications within their child’s reach. Diaper rash creams, eye drops and teething gel are a few of the most common medications that are often viewed as innocuous. However, each one of these should be treated with the same high level of caution as prescription medications.
Be a Vigilant Visitor
When visiting family and friends, parents may need to educate their loved ones regarding medication safety for kids. Often, those who are not accustomed to having children in their home may not have childproofed their medication storage areas. This is especially a concern for children who visit their grandparents because many older adults take prescription medications that may not always have childproof caps. Therefore, parents should ask about any medications that are in the house and keep an eye out for any that may have been left out.
Practice Proper Dosing
Parents can begin teaching young children about medication safety by setting a good example. Always explain to children that they are taking medication and what it is being used to treat. Then, parents should always use the proper dosing procedures for that specific medication. Ideally, the dosing device that is packaged with the medication is the best way to administer medication. Although a medication may state to use a tablespoon, it is important to note that kitchen spoons can vary widely.
Be Careful with Disposal
While most parents are careful to lock up new medications, it is common for them to forget to dispose of medicine properly. Often, they will discard expired or unnecessary medications by simply tossing them in the trash. However, the prospect of finding something new can lead a child to pick up medicine out of the trash can. To prevent this from occurring, parents should always dispose of their medication in a way that will limit their child’s access.
Know the Number for Poison Control
Even with the best of precautions, it is always possible that a child might experience a medication mishap. Therefore, it is essential to have the number for poison control listed in an easy-to-find location in the home such as the kitchen or by the phone. Then, a parent or caregiver can call 1-800-222-1222 for help at the first suspicion that a child may have inadvertently taken medication.
Medication safety tips for kids is an essential component of any childproofing plan. Whether a child is at home or visiting a loved one, it is important for parents and caregivers to keep medications out of their reach. By focusing on keeping medications in a locked and inaccessible location and teaching children about the importance of medication safe, accidental poisonings can be prevented to ensure the health and safety of children.
About this Angie’s List Expert: Cary Byrd is the president and founder of eDrugSearch.com. Based in San Antonio, eDrugSearch.com is a free cost comparison engine that helps consumers get safe access to affordable medications and advocates licensed online pharmacies as a widely accepted alternative.