When parents think about child-proofing their home, many don't consider medicine safety a top priority. The reason is that most parents believe that they are already practicing medicine safety: They "store" it up and away, in a safe location like a cabinet or closet. But here's the problem: A lot of parents aren't thinking about the other places -- the many convenient locations like purses, nightstands and counters -- where they "keep" more frequently used medicine. Unknowingly, this disconnect creates opportunities for young children to access potentially harmful medicine.
So, what can parents and caregivers do to keep kids safe around medicine?
Add medicine safety to your initial child-proofing checklist. As you create a safer home environment for your child to grow and explore, it's important to add medicine safety to your list along with installing safety gates and cabinet locks, anchoring furniture and mounting TVs and keeping small objects and poisonous products out of children's reach. As your child learns new skills and becomes more mobile, anticipate that you may need to change where you keep medicine.
Save the Poison Help number in your phone and post it visibly at home: 1-800-222-1222. Specialists at poison control centers provide free, confidential, expert medical advice 24 hours a day. They can answer questions about how to give or take medicine and help with poison emergencies.
Share medicine safety information with family and friends. Teach other caregivers such as family members, babysitters and friends about medicine safety and make sure they know the Poison Help number.