Younger children, especially toddlers, are naturally curious about their surroundings and may ingest anything they see. This makes it no surprise that accidental ingestion of medicine is one of the leading causes of poisoning in children. According to the CDC, about 200,000 children (under 17) were hospitalized due to medication poisoning in the last year. Children younger than five are at much higher risk of visiting the emergency room than older children. This makes it important that you take measures to ensure that your own child is not poisoned from accidentally ingesting medication.How can I Protect my Child From Medication Poisoning?
The best way to prevent medication poisoning is to make it difficult for your children to access medication at home on their own. This means keeping it out of their reach and sight. You should especially hide medication that is taken daily. Never leave medications out after taking them.
Hide Medications in Hard to Reach Areas
Think about places and items that your child could access easily. This includes purses, nightstands, and counters. If you are keeping your medication in a purse or a bag, place them on high shelves or hang them on hooks. You can also use child safety cabinet locks. These places are difficult for your children to reach. You should also prevent medications from leaking or falling from containers by locking safety caps.
Never Leave your Child Unsupervised Around Medication
Around 60,000 of hospital visits consist of children ingesting medication while unsupervised. More than two-thirds of these unsupervised investigations involve children younger than two years old. This make it crucial to never leave your child unsupervised around medication. If you need to do another task such as answering the phone, take the medication with you. Ingesting medication is not just the only issue to be aware of, small pills and other medical items can be a choking hazard.
Hide Other Health Products
Health products that you might not associate as medicine such as vitamins, diaper rash creams, or eyedrops can also be a hazard for your child. The chemicals found these products can still be poisonous. Store them as you would with your medication.
Use Medications Responsibly
In addition to preventing access to medication, you must use medication responsibly. Carefully read the information on the label and only use medications as directed. Before purchasing medication for your child, make sure that its packaging is child-resistant enough for them. Always secure the cap after each use.
Never give your child medication with increased frequency or in larger quantities than the recommended dosage. If you are giving your child liquid medication, make sure to use a measuring device provided with the medicine. This could be either an oral syringe or a dosing cup. If the medication does not include a measuring device, please purchase one from your local pharmacy. Do not use any kitchen spoon to administer medication.
You should also make sure to check the active ingredients in medications found in your home. This is to ensure that you do not administer two different medications with the same active ingredients to your child. Doing so increases the risk of medication poisoning.
Never refer to any kind of medication as "candy," as this gives your child the wrong idea about the right amount of medication they should take. It allows them to think that they could consume as much medication as they would like, just as they would with candy.
If you have any doubts regarding medications found in your home, please contact your doctor or pharmacist. They shall provide the best course of action for you and your child.
Instruct Caregivers on Medication Safety
If another caregiver such as a grandparent or a babysitter is giving your child medication, please give specific instructions regarding your child's medication. This includes administering the right doses and keeping their bags, purses, or coats that may have medications in them out of your child's reach.
Save Poison Help's Contact Information
Please save Poison Control's phone number. Their number is (800) 222-1222. Post it in an easily accessible place such as a refrigerator. The hotline is available 24 hours. Much of their staff consists of either pharmacists or health care professionals. They will provide free and confidential medical advice pertaining to medication dosage and poisoning.
The key to proper medicine safety is to ensure that your child does not easily access medications found at home. This means storing it in hard to reach areas that are difficult for your child to notice. You must also use medication responsibly as well. This means never taking doses larger than recommended by the manufacturers and carefully checking active ingredients. Make sure to share this information with relatives and other caregivers. Lastly, save Poison Help's contact information as they may potential be your only assistance in some situations.