Did you know that every year there are more than 59,000 young children in the Emergency Room because they got into medicine that they shouldn’t have while their caregiver wasn’t looking? That number is equivalent to 4 large busloads of kids every single day. There are many various factors that contribute to this problem. Medicine use has drastically increased. For example, in 1980 1.4 billion prescriptions were filled, in 2014 that number was 4 billion. Over the counter drugs have increased as well from $5.5 billion in sales to $30.8 billion in that same time period. More drugs mean more of a chance of them getting in the wrong hands and creating a potentially fatal problem. Another interesting factor is the rise in Grandparents living with children. Surprisingly 48% of the medicine that lands children in the Emergency Room actually belongs to their Grandparents. These medications range from over the counter pain medicines, prescriptions and vitamins. They can also be something seemingly innocent like diaper cream which is usually easily reached because they are kept in diaper bags.
So what can families do to protect kids? First of all, move ALL MEDICINE out of the reach of children. Don’t forget to move things like eye drops, diaper cream and other products that pose a danger that you might not think about. Another important thing to do is always use the dosing cups that come with your children’s medicine. Don’t use your child’s allergy medicine cup to administer a pain reliever or anything else that it wasn’t intended for. Parents assume all measuring tools are the same, but you should always stick with the one provided with that particular medication. Make sure that if your child will be spending time with grandparent’s or other family member that their homes are also safe with medications out of reach. Parents and caregivers need to be vigilant when it comes to medication and also make sure they aren’t just focusing on those that are presumed to pose the greatest risks.
One thing that your alarm company can do for you is contact your medicine cabinet and alert you when it has been opened. It’s an extra precaution to help make sure medication isn’t ending up in the wrong hands. Talk to your family about the dangers of medication and what can be done to help keep everyone safe. Together we can make a difference!