Every year, children are admitted to the hospital due to accidents with medication. Accidents can always happen, but here are some tips to follow to ensure they are more unlikely.
Keep Medication Out of Sight
Never leave any type of medication - even children's medication out where children can access it. It's best that they do not see it either. Unfortunately, medication can easily mimic candy and end with a trip to the emergency room.
Child Resistant Packaging is Not Enough
Children mimic adults, therefore watching their parents or caregivers open a bottle of medication enables them to understand how to open such packaging.
Tips for Safety
Childproof locks should be installed on any container holding medications of any kind. Think of them as poison to your children, and treat them as such.
Leaving medication on a high counter or cabinet will not be enough to deter the most determined child. It needs to be locked away and out of sight. Children will use chairs or other means to climb cabinets and counters to get to something that interests them, especially if they think it's something tasty.
Do not leave medication in coats, bags or drawers. Guests of the home should not have medications in their jackets or bags either. Lock these items away for the safety of all the children in the home.
Expired medication should be disposed of properly (see county guidelines) - don't keep it around for use later. Expired medications are not only dangerous to children, but can be dangerous for adults as well. Medications should not be disposed of in the toilet or sink. This introduces it to the water system. Typically there are programs in your area that will offer medication disposal and drop off centers.
Do not treat medications or vitamins as if they are candy. Find another way to entice your children to take them.
When Giving Medication to a Young Child:
Use medication specifically made for children, unless prescribed by a pediatrician.
Follow proper dosing guidelines provided with the medication..
Use tools (syringes, droppers or cups) provided with the medication. Do not use common household utensils to measure the medication.
Do not use medications prescribed to anyone other than the child you are administering it to.
Should You Suspect Your Child Has Ingested Medication
Call Poison Control - 1-880-222-1222 - the center is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Follow the instructions they give you. Do not attempt to cause the child to vomit up the medication unless instructed to do so.
Go to the nearest emergency room. The physicians there may give the child activated charcoal which will slow the body from absorbing more of the medication.
Blood tests will determine how much of the medication the child has ingested so the emergency care team can determine how dire the situation is.
ER staff will monitor the child's vital signs and they may determine the child needs to be admitted to the hospital if the case warrants it.
When in doubt, consult with a pediatrician before administering any medications to your child.
SafetyNook makes your child's safety number one.