Spring Clean Your Medicine Cabinet and Keep Kids Safe
About 60,000 young children end up in emergency rooms each year because they got into medicines while an adult wasn’t looking. Families take medications and vitamins to feel well and to stay well. However, any medication, including those you buy without a prescription, can cause harm if taken in the wrong way or by the wrong person. Acetaminophen, used as a fever and pain reducer found in Tylenol and hundreds of other products is the most commonly ingested over the counter drug. Too much acetaminophen can cause liver damage or failure in children & adults.
Protect your children. Here’s how:
Put medicines up and away and out of children’s reach and sight. Best practice would be to keep them in a locked container.
Put medicines away every time. This includes medicines and vitamins you use every day. Never leave medicine out on a kitchen counter or at a sick child’s bedside.
Make sure the safety cap is locked. Always relock the cap on a medicine bottle. If the bottle has a locking cap that turns, twist it until you hear the click or cannot twist anymore. Remember, even though many medicines have safety caps, children may be able to open them.
Teach your children about medicine safety. Teach your children what medicine is and why you or a trusted adult must be the one to give it to them.
Tell your guests about medicine safety. Ask family members, houseguests, and other visitors to keep purses, bags, or coats that have medicine in them up and away and out of sight when they are in your home.
Be prepared in case of an emergency. Call your poison control center at 800.222.1222 right away if you think your child might have gotten into a medicine or vitamin, even if you are not completely sure. Program the Poison Help number into your home and cell phones so you will have it when you need it.
Take Action. Check with your pharmacy and return unused medications if they will accept them. The Audubon County Sheriff’s office has a receptacle for narcotic pain medications and other medications pharmacies are unable to accept. If you have to dispose of medications at home hide them in coffee grounds or kitty litter, seal them in a plastic bag and dispose of them in your trash.