Helpful Tips to Prevent Prescription Drug Poisoning in Your Home
Doctors are writing more prescriptions than ever for many conditions including high blood pressure, chronic pain, and diabetes. As a result, medicine cabinets, kitchen counters, and dining room tables are accumulating an alarming amount of potentially harmful drugs, all of which are within an arm’s reach away for small children. A recent study conducted by researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s hospital in Ohio found over 544,000 children visited the Emergency Room between 2001 and 2008 because of accidental ingestion and misuse. Sixty six of these tragic cases resulted in death. Over that 8 year time frame, the rate of accidental poisoning increased by approximately 30%. Reversing this trend is important, and following these five tips will keep your children safe.
Keep your medications in their original child-proof containers. Avoid using containers that are easy for children to access, and be sure to always store prescriptions in a safe place. Furthermore, medicine cabinets and other storage locations should have child-resistant devices that prevent access.
Avoid taking prescriptions while in the presence of young children. The majority of accidental ingestion cases occur in children six years of age and younger as they often try to imitate adults. Having a routine that involves taking prescriptions in a private place is advised.
Avoid placing expired prescriptions in trash cans and other receptacles. Even a small dose of medication can be extremely harmful to young children.
Don’t entice children to take their prescribed medications by calling it “candy”. Once a small child identifies prescription drugs with candy, they will try to consume any pill they can get their hands on.
Be smart about over-the-counter vitamins and drugs. Treat these products as prescribed medication as they can have the same hazardous effects on small children. Vitamins, especially those containing Iron, can be particularly harmful.
Every parent knows small children learn from touching things, many of which end up in their mouth. Following these five tips will protect your children from accidental prescription and over-the-counter drug poisoning. Keep the phone number for the Poison Help Line (800) 222-1222 posted in a visible location so a call can be placed quickly if an accidental ingestion occurs.