Parents! are you prepared for emergency?
Unintentional overdoses affect children of all ages, but are particularly common in two year olds – with one in every 150 suffering an accidental overdose each year.
While young children are often the victims of accidental overdose, older children may beat risk for pediatric poisoning as well. By taking preventative measures and educating all members of the household on the dangers of taking medication without parental supervision, you can protect your children and keep them safe from accidental overdose.
The Most Common Cause of Poisoning in Children is Accidental Overdose
According to the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, accidental overdose in young children is becoming more prevalent, but prevention strategies aim to limit children’s exposure to medications and keep them safe. In a publication released in 2011, the journal revealed, “Medications have surpassed household products (e.g., cleaning agents) as the predominant cause of pediatric poisonings. More than 70,000 children are brought to EDs for unintentional medication overdoses annually; the peak incidence is in 2-year-olds.”
How to Keep Your Kids Safe: The “Up and Away and Out of Sight” Initiative In an effort to reduce the number of accidental overdoses that occur in the United States, the CDC has partnered with the Consumer Healthcare Products Association Education Foundation to create an initiative called “Up and Away and Out of Sight.” This initiative helps to remind parents of the dangers of overdose and educates them on how to keep their medications out of the hands of young children and teens.
The “Up and Away and Out of Sight” initiative recommends taking the following steps to keep kids safe from accidental overdose:
- Store all medications or prescriptions in a place that is out of reach and out of sight of children.
- Consider every supplement, prescription, or over-the-counter medication as a potential danger to your children. Even vitamins or over-the-counter children’s medications can cause harm if consumed in excess.
- Educate children about the dangers of ingesting medication that is not prescribed to them. Explain that certain medications can help them feel better if taken in the right dosage at the right time, but other medications can be dangerous, especially if taken without a parent’s supervision.
- Be aware of the “safety cap” on medicine bottles. After each use, activate the child safety lock by twisting the cap until you hear a click.
- Discuss proper safety precautions with everyone in the home and any guests that arrive. Guests to the home should always keep in mind your children’s safety, especially if you have small children in the home. Make sure that any medications that they bring are stored properly in a place that children cannot access.
- Avoid equating taking medicine with eating candy because this can cause confusion in children and lead to accidental overdose.
By putting in place certain safety measures and keeping medications out of sight and out of reach of children, parents can keep their children safe from accidentally ingesting medications and prevent pediatric poisoning.
Health Tips, Kids Corner