Young Children, Pills, & Poisoning

young girl looking at pillsWhile many Americans need medication on a regular basis, prescription and over-the-counter medicines pose a threat to young children.

According to ABC News, the number of household poisonings caused by medications rose 28% between 2001 and 2008. Medications cause 50% of all reported poisonings, according to Purdue University.

Keep any and all medications out of reach and sight!

Children are naturally curious. If you observe any toddler for several minutes, you’ll likely see her picking up and chewing on everything she can reach. The first thing you can do to prevent poisoning is to keep any and all medications out of reach and sight. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, as well as vitamins and supplements. According to the National Capital Poison Center, iron pills are one of the most dangerous poisons to children.

Keep medicines in their original packaging, and put the bottles in a medicine cabinet your child can’t reach, or a cabinet with a childproof latch. In addition to using childproof latches, some medication bottles include child-resistant containers. Opt for these whenever possible.

If you’re using a hazardous substance, don’t leave it unattended, even for a moment. Your child can find and ingest a bottle of toxic chemicals within seconds.

Children often try to imitate what they see their parents doing. If they see their mom or dad swallowing pills, they may think that the pills are okay for them to eat, as well. You can prevent poisoning in your child is by teaching him that he should not take any medicine unless a trusted adult gives it to him. And instead of just forbidding him from ingesting medicine, teach him why it’s bad. A little fear can be healthy in this case.

The more medications you have lying around your house, the bigger the risk of poisoning is. Check the labels on your medicine bottles often, and throw away any expired or unnecessary medications. Dispose of medicines by grinding them up, mixing them with kitty litter or coffee grounds, and throw them away. Some areas also offer local drug take-back programs on designated days.

Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, accidents happen. Don’t panic! The Poison Control Center can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-800-222-1222. Keep this number handy, and call it if you think your child has been poisoned but she is still awake and alert. If your child isn’t conscious or breathing, call 911. 

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Young Children, Pills, & Poisoning

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