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Ensuring Drug Safety at Home

Take a look around your house and you might find an assortment of prescription and over-the-counter medicines. As an adult, you understand that when used correctly, drugs can ease symptoms and cure diseases.  But if a curious child mistakes the small, colorful pills for candy, you have a potential disaster on your hands. Here are tips to prevent an emergency.

Kids can’t take what they can’t reach. Hide medications in places children can’t access, such as a locked cabinet. Secure lids tightly. It’s also a good idea to keep medicines in their original containers, so if something does happen, you can tell emergency personnel what was ingested. Remember, too, that kids like to explore.  So be aware of all the places your child might encounter medicines, for instance at the home of an elderly relative.

Talk to your children. Explain that bright colors don’t always mean sweet treats. Remind them prescription drugs are intended for a specific person and never to be shared.  And refrain from coaxing a resistant child to take medicine by saying it’s candy, which sends the wrong message.

Be mindful of over-the-counter drugs. Over-the-counter availability doesn’t always assure safety. Common household medicines—like Advil or Tylenol—are generally safe when used as directed. But even easy-to-obtain drugs can be dangerous if abused.  Read more about the benefits and dangers of these popular pain relievers in the “Health Corner” of the latest issue of The Wire (Summer 2015). [Link or just reference
? The current link on the site is to the Winter issue.]

Is This an Emergency?

If your child has accidentally ingested or has a negative reaction to medicine, stay calm and follow these guidelines to determine your next step:

  • If the person collapses or stops breathing, call 911 immediately.
  • If he or she is awake and alert, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 and follow the operator’s instructions.
  • Don’t try to give anything to the victim by mouth unless directed to by Poison Control.

Make Drug Safety a Top Priority

To find out more about drug safety in the home, as well as great tips for avoiding other potentially dangerous substances, visit the Member Assistance Program’s Prevent Poisonings in Your Home slideshow. (You will need to sign in to your MAP account to view the slideshow.)

We’ve got you covered!