Keeping kids safe around medications
It’s that time of year — flu, colds and other illnesses seem to abound. If your child gets sick, never try to medicate him or her yourself. Always talk to your child’s doctor or a pharmacist before giving prescription medication or medicines not intended for children. Follow these precautions to keep your child safe.
Even if you’re sure of your child’s symptoms, never give a child leftover prescription medicines. Leftover and expired medicines should be discarded.
Never give your child medicine that has been prescribed to someone else, whether it’s a child or an adult. Even if two people have the same illness, they may need different drugs with different doses and directions.
Do not tell a child that a medicine is candy to entice him or her to take it. This tactic can backfire, and a child can accidentally overdose by later looking for more “candy” to eat. Instead, explain that medicine can make him or her feel better but should only be taken with a parent’s permission. Also, avoid taking medication yourself in front of a child, as children like to mimic adult behavior.
If your child spits out or vomits medication, don’t give another dose — call your doctor for instructions.
Children cannot have aspirin. Using aspirin during an illness caused by a virus, such as flu or chickenpox, can cause a potentially life-threatening disease. Because some over-the-counter medicines contain aspirin, always read labels and check with your doctor before using them. Be aware that some aspirin-containing medications use words other than aspirin (such as salicylate or acetylsalicylate), so avoid those too.
Your bathroom’s medicine cabinet is not the best place to store drugs. The humidity and moisture from the tub or shower can cause medicine to not work as well. Medicine cabinets can also be reached by older children. Instead, store medicines in their original containers in a dry, locked location that kids can’t reach.
Child-resistant caps can be difficult even for adults to open, but make sure they are always recapped and relocked securely. Even when properly used, these caps may slow a child down, but even toddlers can get them open. Medicines with child-resistant caps should still be stored out of reach of children.