Did you know that many children use OTC medications on their own as early as age 11? Yet only 54% of tweens know that OTC medicine can be harmful when misused. Here are important things you can say—and do—to increase your tween’s or teen’s knowledge about responsible OTC medicine use.

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Medicine Safety Resources for Your Family

Get free tips and tools to share with your children—including online learning activities, digital storybook, tween-focused messages, and much more.

Key messages to share about medicine safety

Here are some important tips to discuss with your tween or teen:

  • Never share your medicine with someone else. This includes OTC as well as prescription medicines.

  • Never use someone else’s medicine. What’s good for a friend may not be good for you.

  • Take ONLY 1 medicine with the same kind of active ingredient at a time. The medicine ingredients are always listed on the Drug Facts or prescription label.

  • Read and follow the label every time you take medication. Even if you think you know the product, check the label first because labels may change. Follow the directions exactly.

  • Only take medicine under the guidance of your parent or guardian. They can help ensure you’re taking the medicine properly.

Key things to do to promote medicine safety

Let your tweens and teens know they play an important role in their own medicine safety—and also in keeping younger siblings safe. Here are steps you and your older children can take to help keep your home safe for everyone:

  • Store all medicines up, away, and out of sight. To prevent medicine poisoning, store all medicines—as well as vitamins, acne creams, and other healthcare items—in a spot that’s high and out of the sight of children. Get smart medicine storage tips.

  • Always use the dosing device that comes with the medicine. Dosing devices are not interchangeable. Devices like dosing cups and droppers are specific to each medicine, and using teaspoons or kitchen spoons may cause you to take or give the wrong dose.

  • Program the Poison Help number into their phones: 1-800-222-1222. Tweens and teens can call for help if they or anyone they’re with—a friend, a sibling, a child they’re babysitting—may have taken too much medicine or been exposed to a potentially dangerous substance.

Resource sheets for families

Tips on medicine dosing, storage, and safety

The Over-the-Counter Drug Facts label

Helpful guide designed for tweens and teens