Keeping Children Safe From Medication Overdose

According to the CDC, more than 50,000 children end up in emergency rooms each year due to ingestion (either accidental or intentional) of medications while an adult wasn’t looking. Whether you have toddlers or teens, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics reminds you that all medications should be safely stored and out of access to children.

Inappropriate usage of medications and vitamins or any use of recreational drugs can be fatal to children. Curiosity or seeking to harm oneself can lead children to take someone else’s medications. Practicing safe storage of these items while at home or on-the-go is crucial to keeping children safe.

6 Safe Storage Practices

  1. Lock it Up
    Keep medications locked and away to prevent access by children. Choose a storage place that children cannot reach or see.
  2. Put Medications Away Every Time
    This includes medicines and vitamins you use every day. Never leave medicine out on a kitchen counter or at a sick child’s bedside.
  3. Keep Medication Safety Caps Locked
    Always relock the safety on a medicine bottle by twisting until it clicks, or until you can’t turn it further.
  4. Teach Children About Medication Safety
    Make sure your children understand what medication is and why you, or a trusted adult, must administer it. Never use the “medicine is candy” ploy to get children to take their medicine.
  5. Inform Guests About Medication Safety
    Ask family members, houseguests and other visitors to respect your medication safety house rules by keeping purses, bags, or coats that have medications safely stored.
  6. Be Prepared in Case of an Emergency
    Keep the number for your poison control center programmed in your cell phone and posted in a prominent location in your home. Call 800-222-1222 or 911 if you suspect your child may have ingested medication or vitamins.