Medicine Safety for Children
Medicines play an important role in treating many conditions, but they must be taken and stored with care, especially in homes with children. The Norton Children’s staff, including pharmacists and physicians, is dedicated to practices that keep children and the community safe from prescription misuse. The resources listed below provide important information about safe pain management and medication storage and disposal.
Pain Management in Children
Kentucky has one of the highest overdose death rates from prescription opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Norton Healthcare has created an Opioid Stewardship Committee to find solutions to reduce the number of opioids in the community. The committee is working to change prescription practices based on changes suggested by The Joint Commission, a health care accreditation organization.
It is Norton Children’s goal to lessen pain in children. Opioids may be used intravenously or orally to control severe pain in children while they are in the hospital. Our providers also look at other methods to control a child’s pain other than with opioids. Caregivers employ techniques such as distraction, scheduled acetaminophen and ibuprofen, Sweet-Ease (sugar water) for babies, as well as alternative therapies such as expressive therapy, music therapy, pet therapy, child life therapy and acupuncture.
Safe Medicine Storage at Home
When storing medications in the home, always put them in a safe, secure place, such as a locked cabinet, drawer or box, to prevent children or others from unwanted access. Adolescents and teens can be pressured to take medications by peers, and toddlers may just be curious. Parents are encouraged to track the number of pills in each bottle or packet to help keep everyone in the home safe, especially when using medications known for being addictive or abused.
If you believe your child has taken too much medicine or a medicine that does not belong to them, do not wait for the child to look or feel sick. Do not try to treat your child by yourself. Call the Kentucky Poison Control Center of Norton Children’s Hospital. Poison specialists can determine if the child requires treatment at a health care facility. More than 75% of calls can be managed without a visit to a hospital emergency room. The hotline is staffed 24/7 and is free.
Safe Medication Disposal
Medications should be properly disposed of once expired, unwanted or no longer needed. Several locations and agencies offer ways to safely dispose of medications:
- National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
- Drug Enforcement Administration-authorized medication disposal sites in your area
- S. Food & Drug Administration – Safe Disposal of Medicines
Before disposing of prescription medications, always remove the label that has your name and address on it. You can also scratch out the name/address or use a marker to cover up your personal information.
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