According to a 2013 report from SafeKids.org, medications are the leading cause of child poisoning. In fact, an alarming 67,000 children land in emergency rooms each year because of medication poisoning. Put into perspective, and that's roughly one child every eight minutes.
Where Children Find Medicine:
According to SafeKids.org, the following are some statistics related to where children commonly found medicine:
- 27% ground or misplaced
- 20% purse/bag/wallet
- 20% counter/dresser/table/nightstand
- 15% pillbox or bag of pills
- 12% other (unknown)
- 6% cabinet/drawer
The report goes on to state that a staggering 86% of emergency room visits for medicine poisoning were due to children getting into adult medicine. The biggest offenders? Moms (31%) and grandparents (38%).
Safely Storing Your Medications Out of Reach
Regardless of whether you are taking medication due to having a physical disability or limited mobility, or whether you simply keep some ibuprofen on hand for the occasional headache - adults have a responsibility to keep medicines safely stored and out of reach from curious, unsuspecting children.
CNN reported on the subject, giving the example that something as small as a caregiver letting a child use a bathroom unsupervised can result in an emergency situation.
UpandAway.org gives some great tips for safely storing medications. Some tips include:
- Pick a place that kids cannot reach.
- Put medicines away every time.
- Make sure the safety cap is locked.
- Teach your kids about medicine safety.
- Tell guests about medicine safety.
- Be prepared in case of an emergency.
Disposing of Medications
If you thought it was safe to simply throw away medications, think again. The FDA has the following recommendations for safely disposing of medicine:
- Mix medicines (do NOT crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds
- Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag; and
- Throw the container in your household trash.
- Before throwing out your empty pill bottle or other empty medicine packaging, remember to scratch out all information on the prescription label to make it unreadable.