With cold and flu season upon us, it seems everyone is coming down with something and our medicine cabinets are bursting.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 60,000 young children are brought to the emergency room each year because they got into medicines that were left within reach. This year, the CDC has partnered with the Up and Away campaign to provide tips for parents to keep their children safe.
1. Keep medicine (including vitamins) in one spot in your home that is up and away, and out of sight. Older children are capable of climbing on top of things to reach the medicine cabinet so keep medicines out of sight.
2. Lock the safety cap when you are done.
3. Set alarms on your phone that remind you when to give the medication to your child instead of leaving it out on their bedside table.
4. Teach your child about medicine safety when they are younger. Explain to them what medicine is and why you or another caregiver must be the ones to give it to them.
5. Never tell your child medicine is like candy, even if they don’t like to take it. It also may be beneficial for parents to enforce a habit when children are younger that they have to ask permission to eat and drink things.
6. If guests have medicine, ask them to keep it out of sight and reach of children.
7. Be prepared in case of an emergency. If you believe your child may have gotten into a medicine or vitamin, do not call 911, instead call the poison help number. Save the number in your phone by entering it manually (800) 222-1222 or by texting “POISON” 797979 to automatically save it. During cold and flu season the emergency room may get backed up. The poison help center provides medical professionals that can help you more efficiently.
Remember, Up and Away is the best medicine.
This blog was written by Amy Hill, MS, Associate Director, Injury Prevention and Research Center, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
Hill is a spokesperson for the Up and Away campaign. If you would like to learn more visit www.upandaway.org.