This entry is brought to you by Cathi Kellett, Coordinator for the Safe Kids Greater Naugatuck Valley Chapter, based at Griffin Hospital.
Cathi discusses some facts about medicine safety and how important it is to include ALL care givers in the conversation about keeping medicines away from children.
According to the 2013 U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission NEISS data, last year there were 67,000 ER visits for medicine incidents. Children are getting into medicine at an alarming rate. 3 out of 4 ER visits for medicine poisoning are due to kids getting into parents’ or grandparents’ medicine.
Since 2005, there has been a 23 percent increase in the number of grandparents living with their grandchildren. 13 percent of grandparents provide care for a grandchild on a regular basis. 74 percent of grandparents in our survey reported taking prescription medicine every day. This new dynamic of children being exposed to more adult medicine in the home makes medicine safety a more important topic than ever for families.
It's easy to remember to baby proof the house when young children come to visit - to protect electrical outlets or lock cupboards but it is just as important to move medicines up and out of the reach of children.
•About 28 percent of grandparents who take care of their grandkids every day keep their medicines in easy-open containers or bottles without a child-resistant cap.
•42 percent of those who use easy-open containers keep prescription medicine on a bathroom or kitchen sink, counter, table or shelf – locations that are easily accessible to young children.
•12 percent of grandparents who take care of grandkids every day keep prescription medicine on a nightstand or dresser, places where kids can easily get into it.
•And 13 percent keep medicine on a counter or table between doses when giving medicine.
Be alert to potential hazards of medicine stored in other locations, like pills in purses, vitamins on counters, and medicine in nightstands.
•Even if you are tempted to keep it handy in between doses, put medicine out of reach after every use.
•Choose child-resistant caps for medicine bottles, if you’re able to. If pill boxes or non-child resistant caps are the only option, it’s even more important to store these containers up high and out of sight when caring for kids.
•Program the nationwide Poison Help Number (1-800-222-1222) into your phones.
•Visit safekids.org for more tips on safe storage, safe dosing and safe disposal of medicine.
Talk to family and friends about medication safety.
Remember children (and parents) are excited to spend time with grandparents, let’s make it a happy and safe visit!
Safe Kids Greater Naugatuck Valley Chapter Coordinator
Community Outreach & Parish Nurse Dept.