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Published on April 13, 2020

Protecting Your Kids Around Medicine

When it comes to keeping children safe around medicine, it often isn’t enough to place medicine out of reach or in your bag.

Wayne UNC Health Care is taking steps to raise awareness, giving parents and caregivers the resources they need to protect their children from accidental poisoning or overdose.

“Poison ingestion affects millions of families across the country every year,” said Summer Flowers, Clinical Supervisor and Educator Pediatrics. “An estimated 24 million people call poison control every year, and 800,000 children are rushed to the ER because of accidental ingestion of poison.”

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit organization that works to help families and communities keep kids safe from injuries, parents visiting the ER for medicine poisoning often say they only turned their back on their children for a minute.

The organization, whose local chapter works locally with Wayne UNC to promote child safety year-round, suggests the following tips for keeping children safe around medicine:

  • Put medicine “up and away,” out of children’s reach and sight. Work to keep visitors’ purses, bags and coats out of reach, since they sometimes also contain medicine.
  • Keep in mind that child-resistant packing isn’t childproof. Put medicine away immediately after each use, even if you need to dispense another dose soon.
  • Keep the Poison Help number – 1-800-222-1222 in your phone and post it visibly at home so other caregivers can find it in case of an emergency.

If you suspect your child has been poisoned, Flowers suggests parents immediately dial 9-11 or head to the Wayne UNC Emergency Room. Minutes count when treating ingestion, and your child’s medical provider will reach out to Poison Control.

In the meantime, parents can be proactive in protecting their children by removing unused medicine from the home environment.

For more information on keeping children safe around medicine, check out the Safe Kids Worldwide infographic.

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