Up, up, and away: Keeping kids safe

medicine safety for kids

Children are curious by nature. Many medications look and taste like candy. While it’s important to encourage our kids to explore and discover, when it comes to medication, we want to be careful to keep them safe.

Store medicines safely:

  1. Put medicines up and away and out of sight. Make sure that all medicines, including vitamins, herbals, supplements, and adult medicines, are stored out of reach and out of sight of children.
  2. Close or cover your medicine tightly after every use.
  3. Buy medicines that come in child-resistant packages when you can. But remember, child-resistant does not mean child-proof, and some children will still be able to get into medicine given enough time and persistence. Check to make sure the cap is on the right way and is secure after each use.

Give medicines safely:

  1. Use the dosing device that comes with the medicine. Proper dosing is important. Kitchen spoons aren’t all the same, and a teaspoon and tablespoon used for cooking won’t measure the same amount as the dosing device.
  2. Keep all medicines in their original packages and containers. Ask your pharmacist to clarify the directions when the label reads “take (use) as directed.”
  3. Read the label and follow the directions. Even if you have used the medicine before, sometimes the directions change about how much medicine to give. Even if your child seems really sick, don’t give more medicine than the label says. It won’t help your child feel better faster, and it may cause harm. Check the active ingredients listed on the label. Make sure you don’t give your child more than one medicine with the same active ingredient. Giving your child two or more medicines that have the same active ingredient can put your child at risk for an overdose.

Talk to your kids about medication safety:

  1. Do not compare it to candy—even if it does taste good—to try to encourage kids to take it.
  2. Talk with older kids about the dangers of misusing or abusing prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

Program the Poison Control Center number in your phone:

  1. Put the toll-free number for the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) into your home and mobile phone, and post it in a visible place where you can easily find it.
  2. Experts are always available to help in case of an emergency or with any questions involving medicines, chemicals, or household products. Call the Poison Control Center if you have questions about giving medicines, if your child was given the wrong amount of medicine, or if your child has taken medicine that he or she was not supposed to take.
  3. If your child has collapsed, is not breathing, or has a seizure, call 911.
  4. Do not make children vomit or give them anything unless directed by a professional.
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