Aero Jet Medical Air Ambulance Authority urges those caring for younger children to protect them from accidentally overdosing on prescription medications. Researchers say more than 60,000 young children in the U.S. are treated in emergency rooms each year for accidental overdoses because they got into medicines when their parent or caregiver wasn’t looking. Those risks may increase during the holidays when visitors leave coats, purses, or suitcases with medications where young children can reach them.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) childproof drug packaging isn’t enough to protect children from the rising number of accidental drug overdoses at home. In addition, parents are more likely to make mistakes when giving medicines to infants and toddlers than to older children.
The CDC in conjunction with the Up and Away project of the PROTECT initiative offer the following steps to help ensure your child’s safety:
- Put all medications and vitamins in a place children can’t reach.
- Put medicines and vitamins away every time you use them. Never leave them out on a kitchen counter or at a sick child’s bedside, even if you have to give the medicine again in a few hours.
- Listen for the click to make sure the safety cap on medicines is locked.
- Teach children about medicine safety. Never tell children that medicine is candy to get them to take it.
- Tell guests about medicine safety. Ask house guests and visitors to keep purses, bags, and coats that have medicines in them up and away and out of sight when they are visiting.
- Be prepared in case of emergency. Program the poison control phone number into home and cell phones (800-222-1222).
The National Safety Council offers additional steps for preventing medication dosing errors when giving medicines to children.
- Read all of the information on the package label and follow the directions. Do not give a child medicine more often or in greater amounts than is stated on the package.
- Use only the measuring device (dropper, dosing cup or dosing spoon) that is included with the product. Do not use a kitchen teaspoon or tablespoon for giving medicines to children. If a measuring device is not included with the product, purchase one at a pharmacy or ask for one from your pharmacist.
- Check the “active ingredients” in prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Make sure that you do not give your child two medicines that have the same “active ingredient.” If you have questions ask your doctor or pharmacist.
- If you do not understand the instructions on the label, or how to use the dosing device, do not use the medicine. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you have questions or are confused.
For more information and printed safety material visit the following websites: