The latest report from Safe Kids Worldwide™, Safe Medicine Storage: A Look at the Disconnect between Parent Knowledge and Behavior, explores parents’ knowledge, attitudes and behavior around medicine storage.
According to the report, every year, more than 59,000 young children are seen in emergency rooms because they got into medicine while a caregiver wasn’t looking – the equivalent of four busloads of kids every day. Most families believe they are being careful about storing medicine away from children; however, a national survey of 2,000 parents revealed a surprising gap between parents’ knowledge of what they should do to protect kids from accidental medicine poisoning and what they are actually doing.
The survey showed that 9 in 10 parents agree it is important to store all medicine up high and out of reach after every use, but nearly 7 in 10 said that they often store medicine within a child’s sight - on a shelf or surface at or above counter height.
Parents are often choosing convenience over caution by storing medicine in a handy and visible location for easy access or as a memory aid. In fact, 4 in 10 parents agreed that it is okay to keep daily medicine on the kitchen counter or in another visible location so it is handy, and nearly 5 in 10 parents agreed that when a child is sick, it is okay to keep medicine handy on the kitchen counter or in another visible location between doses. These findings support the need for more medication safety education and outreach efforts.
- Put all medicine up and away and out of sight including your own. Make sure that all medicine and vitamins are stored out of reach and out of sight of children.
- Close your medicine caps tightly after every use. Choose child-resistant caps for medicine bottles.
- Be alert to visitors’ medicine. Guests in your home may not be thinking about the medicine they brought with them in their belongings.
- Be alert to medicine in places your child visits. You know to store medicine safely in your home, but do you ever think about medicine safety when your child isn’t at home?
- Write clear instructions for caregivers about your child’s medicine.
- Clean out your medicine cabinet. Reduce the risk of kids getting into medicine by getting rid of unused or expired medicine.
The Food and Drug Administration says that certain medicines are so dangerous, they should be flushed down the toilet. The poison help hotline at 1 (800) 222-1222 is your resource for help in a poisoning emergency.