That’s more than 60,000 children every year, and most of them got into the medicines while their caregivers weren’t looking.
“In recent years, the number of accidental overdoses in young children has increased by 20 percent,” said Dr. Dan Budnitz, director of CDC’s Medication Safety Program. “A few simple steps — done every time — can protect our children.”
Keep your little ones safe by following these tips from the CDC’s Up and Away and Out of Sight program:
- Store medication where children can’t reach it.
Remember any type of medication – prescriptions, vitamins and supplements – can lead to an overdose if taken improperly. Find a place too high for your child’s wandering fingers, keeping in mind even young children can get pretty creative when they want something and can’t reach it.
- Put medicines away every time.
It’s convenient to leave medication out on the counter or by your sick child’s bedside when you know there’s another dose coming in a few short hours, but it can also a dangerous habit. Always put every medicine and vitamin away every time you use it.
- Listen for the click to make sure safety caps are locked.
If you have medications with safety caps, use this feature to lock the bottle. Listen for the click and test the cap to be sure it won’t open. Remember safety caps aren’t tamper-proof, so put the locked bottle up and away.
- Teach your children about medicine safety.
Explain to your children what medicine is and why you must be the one to give it to them. Never tell children medicine is candy to get them to take it.
- Tell guests about medicine safety.
When you have guests in your home, make sure they place medicines they might have in a coat pocket or bag up and away from curious hands.
- Be prepared in case of an emergency.
If you think your child might have taken some of your medication, supplements or vitamins, call the poison control center right away at 800-222-1222. Program the number into your cell phone for quick reference.