Grandparents love to spend time with their grandchildren. Many times, however, tiny fingers can end up in places they shouldn’t, which is why putting precious or breakable objects out of reach of curious little hands is important. Equally important (if not more so) is keeping medicines and vitamins up and away and out of sight of young children.
Consider this: more than 70,000 children end up in emergency departments each year after getting their hands on medicines left within reach. That’s 165 kids—or roughly four busloads of kids — per day. Quite often, that medicine belonged to a grandparent.
Where are children getting these medicines? From countertops, bedside tables, purses and pockets, and loose pills that fall on tables or floors. While weekly pill minders are great at help-ing to keep track of multiple medications, they rarely have a child-proof feature, so an inquisitive child can get into the colorful medicines stored inside.
“Grandparents and parents may not be aware of the danger posed by leaving medications where young children can reach or see them,” says Dr. Dan Budnitz, director of the Medication Safety Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “A few simple steps — followed every time — can protect our children.”
So, grandparents, do enjoy your time with your grandchildren, but whether you’re having them over to your house, or visiting theirs, remember to store your medicines in a place they can’t access.
The following tips are from the CDC’s “Up and Away and Out of Sight” initiative:
- Keep all medicines and vitamins up and away and out of sight in a high cabinet or shelf that your grandchildren can’t get to. If you think you might forget to take your medicine if they are not in plain sight, leave yourself a reminder on the refrigerator or somewhere that you check daily.
- Never leave medicines or vitamins out on a counter or bedside table, even if you have to take the medicine just a few hours later.
- Re-lock the safety cap on a medicine bottle. If the bottle has a locking cap that turns, twist it until you hear the click.
- Never tell children medicine is candy, even if your grandchild doesn’t like to take his or her medicine.
- Keep purses, bags or coats that have medicines or vitamins in them out of reach and sight of young ones.
- Program the Poison Help number (1-800-222-1222) into your phone so you have it in case of an emergency.
Visit UpandAway.org for more tips on safe medicine storage.