Each year, around 60,000 children—or roughly 4 busloads of kids every day—are brought to an emergency room for medicine poisoning because they’ve gotten into medications, vitamins, supplements, or other health products. These accidents can happen quickly, with kids finding medicines in ways and places you might not expect. The good news is that by following some easy, safe storage tips you can help protect your young children and keep medications out of their reach.
Smart medicine storage tips
Here are ways to help ensure your kids don’t get their hands on medicines:
In 86% of emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the child got into medicine belonging to an adult.
Put all medicines, including your own, up and away, out of reach and sight. Place purses and bags in high locations, and avoid leaving medicines on a nightstand or dresser.
Consider products you might not think about as medicines. Health products such as vitamins, diaper-rash creams, eye drops, and even hand sanitizers can be harmful if kids get into them.
In 60%* of emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the medicine was within reach of a child.
Close your medicine caps tightly after each use. Choose child-resistant caps for medicine bottles when you can. And remember, child-resistant does not mean childproof. So make sure you close the container tightly after each use and put the medicine away.
Put medicine away after every use. Even if you’ll need another dose in a few hours, resist the urge to keep the medicine handy. Put it up and away after each dose.
In 49%† of cases, the medicine a child got into belonged to a relative such as an aunt, uncle, or grandparent.
Be alert to visitors’ medicine. Well-meaning visitors may not be thinking about the medicines they have brought with them. When you have guests in your home, offer to put purses, bags and coats out of reach of children to protect their property from a curious child.
Be alert to medicine in places your child visits. You know to store medicines safely in your home, but also think about medicine safety when your child isn’t at home. Ask people your child visits to put their medicines in a safe place, or take a look around to make sure you don’t see any medicines within reach.
Room-by-room medicine safety
Here’s a visual guide to storing medicine up and away throughout your home—in your kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms.