The Washington Post reported this week that Poison Control Centers receive 32 calls a day about children exposed to opiates. While the number of exposures has decreased in the past 6 years, there is still need to protect unaware families of the possible risk to children and family members taking prescription pain medications and other drugs inappropriately, leading to poisoning and possible death.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends storing and locking medications up and away, out of the reach of children.
Important safety tips include:
1. Never leave medicines or vitamins 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.
2. Always relock the safety cap on a medicine bottle. If it has a locking cap that turns, twist it until you hear the “click” or until you can’t twist anymore.
3. Tell children what medicine is and why you must be the one to give it to them. Never tell children medicine is candy so they’ll take it, even if your child doesn’t like to take his or her medicine.
4. Remind babysitters, houseguests, and visitors to keep purses, bags, or coats that have medicines in them up and away and out of sight when they’re in your home.
5. Get rid of expired or unused medications using recommended methods as outlined by Consumer Reports:
- Return unused medications to your pharmacy. Many pharmacies have take-back programs or drop off bins for safe disposal.
- Drop off unused meds during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 29.
- Mail medication to a collection site.
- Use a self-service disposal kiosk at Walgreens and other participating sites.