Every year, many children are taken to the emergency room because they took medicine by accident. A lot of medicines are made to look and taste like candy in order to make them appealing to children. Children are naturally curious and attracted to sweet tasting colorful medicines.
Safety tips: Here are a few common-sense things you could follow to prevent accidental intake of medicines by children, especially toddlers. These include keeping medicines locked up, out of reach and out of sight of children
Do not think that a child resistant cap is enough. Children can figure out how to open bottles.
Put a childproof lock or catch on the cabinet with your medicines.
Put away medicine safely after every use.
Never leave medicine on the counter. Curious children will climb on a chair to reach for something that interests them.
Do not leave your medicine unattended. Children can find medicine in your bedside drawer, your handbag, or your jacket pocket.
Remind visitors, grandparents, babysitters, and friends, to put away their medicine. Ask them to keep purses or bags containing medicine on a high shelf, out of reach.
Get rid of any old or expired medicines. Contact your local medical center and ask about where you can safely drop off unused medicines.
Do not flush medicines down the toilet or pour them into the sink drain. Also, do not toss medicines in the trash.
Do not take your medicine in front of young children. Children like to copy you and may try to take your medicine just like you.
Do not call medicine or vitamins candy. Children like candy and will get into medicine if they think it is candy.
Accidental consumption of medicine: If you think your child has consumed medicine without supervision, go to the emergency medical center. Your child may need:
To get activated charcoal. Charcoal stops the body from absorbing the medicine. It has to be given within an hour, and it does not work for every medicine.
To be admitted to the hospital so they can be watched closely
To have blood tests to see what the medicine is doing
To have their heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure monitored
Medicines and children: When it comes to taking medicines, kids are not just small adults. Remember that aside from drugs for fever or pain most over-the-counter products have not actually been studied in children for effectiveness, safety, or dosing.
Be sure you are giving the right medicine and the right amount. Read and follow the label directions.
Use the correct measuring device. If the label says two teaspoons and you are using a dosing cup with ounces only, do not guess.
Do not substitute another item, such as a kitchen spoon.
Do not use expired medicines.
Do not use someone else's prescription medicine. This could be very harmful for your child.
Also, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider before giving two medicines at the same time. That way, you can avoid a possible overdose or an unwanted interaction.
Follow age and weight limit recommendations. If the label says do not give to children under a certain age or weight, then do not do it.