MEDICINE SAFETY AWARENESS
A Few Facts Worth Knowing:
· Every year, more than 60,000 kids end up in the emergency room because they accidentally got into some medicine when an adult wasn’t looking.
· A child receives the wrong medication or the wrong dosage every eight minutes in the United States. The younger the child, the more likelihood of an error.
Five Tips for Medication Safety:
1. Safe storage
2. Safe dosage
3. Communicate to caregivers
4. Safely discard medicine
5. Talk to your kids about medication safety
· Put all medicine up and away and out of sight including your own. Even products such as diaper rash remedies, vitamins or eye drops are medicine, and should be stored safely.
· Kids get into medicine in all sorts of places. Place handbags in high locations, and avoid leaving medicine on a nightstand or dresser.
· Close your medicine caps tightly after every use. Choose child-resistant caps for medicine bottles when possible.
· Keep all medicine in their original packages and containers with the labels intact.
· Use the dosing device that comes with the medicine. Kitchen spoons aren't all the same, and a teaspoon or tablespoon used for cooking won't measure the same amount as the dosing device.
· Check the active ingredients listed on the label of over the counter products. Make sure you don’t give your child more than one medicine with the same active ingredient, because it puts your child at risk for an overdose.
· Take the time to 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 very sick, don’t give more medicine than the label says. It won’t help your child feel better faster, and it may cause harm.
Communicate to Caregivers
· Write clear instructions for caregivers about your child’s medicine. They need to know what medicine to give, how much to give and when to give it.
· Let the caregiver/other parent know when the last dosage was given so that your child doesn’t receive the prescribed dosage twice before it is time.
Safely Discard Medicine
· At least once a year, clean out your medicine cabinet of any unused or expired medicine. Many communities have a medicine take-back program. Ask your pharmacist.
· If your local trash service allows it, to dispose of it yourself, pour the medicine into a sealable plastic bag. If the medicine is a pill, add water to dissolve it. Then add coffee grounds or kitty litter to the plastic bag. And then take it to the outside trash bin.
· The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that certain medicines are so dangerous they should be flushed down the toilet.
Talk to Your Kids about Medication Safety
· Teach your child that medicine is not candy, including vitamins and it should always be taken under the supervision of an adult.
· Educate your pre-teens and teens on how to read an over-the-counter (OTC) drug facts or prescription label. Take the time to teach them about each section of a drug facts label and its purpose.
· Communicate to kids the importance of only taking medicine that is meant for them. Taking medicine that belongs to someone else or misusing medicine (even OTCs- over the counter medications) can cause harm.
· Teach your child that medicine labels are rules, not guidelines. Taking more than the recommended dose will not help them get relief any faster, and it could hurt them.
· Check in with your pre-teens and teens about the medicine they are taking regularly as errors in dose or dosing frequency can still occur.
In addition, program the Poison Control Center number (1-800-222-1222) into all your phones. Also put the number on your refrigerator or another place in your home where caregivers can see it. The Poison Help Line is not just for emergencies; you can call with questions about how to take or give medicine.
· Call 911 right away if the individual collapses, has a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened.
For more Children's Health tips and insights about family medicine safety, visit www.Childrens.com
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