Most Parents Know to Store Medicine Safely, Yet Every Ten Minutes a Child Goes to the ER for Medicine Poisoning

A new research report from Safe Kids Worldwide finds that while many parents know to “store” their medicine in a safe location, they are not considering the many places in the home where they “keep” medicine.

Unknowingly, this disconnect creates opportunities for young children to access potentially harmful medicine.

While education efforts are indeed having a positive impact – the number of ER visits for children under the age of 6 who got into medicine decreased by 32 percent, and the number of calls to Poison Control Centers decreased by 20 percent – too many children still get into medicine.

Every day 142 children under age 6 are being seen at emergency rooms after getting into medicine. That’s one child every ten minutes.

Here Are Some Quick Tips for Parents:

  • Keep medicine and vitamins out of children’s reach and sight, even medicine you take every day. Think about places you store medicine you don’t use regularly, as well as places you keep medicine that you use more often. Children often find medicine kept in purses or on counters and nightstands, so it is important to put medicine in cabinets at or above counter height, even if you need to take another dose in a few hours. Keep all bags or briefcases on high shelves or hang them on hooks where your child can’t reach them.

  • Add medicine safety to your initial child-proofing checklist. As you create a safer home environment for your child to grow and explore, it’s important to add medicine safety to your list along with installing safety gates and cabinet locks, anchoring furniture, mounting TVs, and putting poisonous products up and away. As your child learns new skills and becomes more mobile, anticipate that you may need to change where you keep medicine to avoid alarming surprises.

  • Save the Poison Help number in your phone and post it visibly at home: 1-800-222-1222. Specialists at poison control centers provide free, confidential, expert medical advice 24 hours a day. They can answer questions about how to give or take medicine and help with poison emergencies.

  • Share medicine safety information with family and friends. Teach other caregivers such as family members, babysitters and friends about medicine safety and make sure they know the Poison Help number.

Safe Kids Worldwide is a nonprofit organization working to protect kids on the road, at home and at play. Find out more at safekids.org.

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