During the cold and flu season and amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be more medicines in homes being used to treat all kinds of symptoms. It is important to remember that you can keep curious kids safe by keeping medicine up and away and out of sight and reach.
Approximately 50,000 young children are brought to the emergency room each year because they got into medicines left within reach, according to recent statistics published in the Journal of American Medical Association. This cold and flu season could present some additional hazards.
“Families with their curious children are spending more time at home together to help stop the spread of COVID-19. It’s imperative that all medicines are kept up and away and out of sight and reach to avoid accidental ingestion and an unnecessary trip to the emergency room,” says Anita Brikman, executive director of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association Educational Foundation.
The Up and Away campaign, an initiative of PROTECT, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association Educational Foundation, aims to prevent accidental ingestion of medicine by educating families about how to safely keep medicine out of the sight and reach of young children. They’re advising parents and caregivers to follow these tips this cold and flu season and beyond:
• One-half of exposures involve children accessing medications that had previously been removed from original packaging, according to a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics. Whether you’re at home or away, keep medicines in child-resistant containers. If you must put medicines in other containers, such as pill organizers, only do so if they’re child-resistant.
• Never leave loose pills on the counter or tables and keep medicines in child-resistant containers until right before taking them. To a young child, pills can look like candy, and it’s important to keep them out of children’s reach and sight.
• Keep young children safe by putting all medicines carried with you, including those in purses, bags, pockets, or pill organizers, out of their sight and reach.
• More than 80% of grandparents say they keep their medication in the same place as usual when their grandchildren visit their house, and 72% keep them in their purse or bag when they visit their grandchildren, according to a University of Michigan poll. Whether you’re a grandparent or another visitor to a home with children, don’t be shy about asking for a safe place to put your medicines (including those kept in purses, bags or pockets) that’s out of reach and sight of curious young kids.
• Save the Poison Help number: 1-800-222-1222, in your home and cell phones so you’re always prepared. Make sure that babysitters, older children and frequent family visitors have the number too in case there’s an emergency when they’re in charge.
For more medicine safety tips, visit UpandAway.org.
This cold and flu season and year-round, keep children safe by always putting medicine out of sight and reach.