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Pills Can Kill

by Lori Sciame | March 11th, 2014 | Preschool, Safety

aspirin in handPills may seem magical.  They can relieve the pain of a sore throat, reduce a high fever, and even cure a nagging cough.  In this sense, these “miracle” drugs help to make our lives and our children’s lives much more comfortable. However, medicines can also be a safety hazard for preschool children.

As described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Among children under age six, pharmaceuticals account for about 40% of all exposures reported to poison centers.”  As the startling statistic outlined above proves, preschool children can be hurt by overdosing on medications, whether or not children find the pills themselves, or they have been given the substance by an adult.

Because you want to keep your child safe, please read this post.  It’s actually a prescription for medicine safety.

First, secure any drugs/medicines you keep in your home.  Think of these items as valuable, and then vow to keep them in a safe place.  Do not leave them in plain view on a counter or table.  Instead, lock them up.  Preschoolers should never be exposed to the temptation of either over the counter or prescription medications.

Next, dispose of all unwanted medicines properly.  It doesn’t matter if you buy the medicine at the store, or if you had a prescription from the pharmacy, get rid of expired or left over pills the right way.  Do not flush them down the toilet, and do not merely throw them into the kitchen or bathroom garbage.

Opt instead to take old and unused medications to a local drop box or collection event.  Many police departments and health departments around the United States have erected drop boxes for ease of disposal.  Check out the U.S. Department of Justice website for drop off locations or events near you.  It may take a few extra minutes to locate a drop box, but this small inconvenience is worth saving your child’s life!

Another rule: never give your preschooler a pill (either whole or in part) that was not prescribed for him or her.  This happens way too often.  Last month, a mother in Wisconsin gave her child half of a methadone pill hoping to make the child go to sleep. Instead, the poor little girl died.

I realize that this case is extreme, and that 99% of parents would never give their child a substance such as methadone, however, some parents may not see the danger in giving a child a “small” dose of a seemingly harmless pill. In essence, it is NEVER a good idea to share prescription medicines between family members.

There are a few other ways to keep your child safe.

-Explain that he or she should never take medicines that a friend’s parent offers or that a friend suggests.

-Avoid over-medicating your son or daughter.  Stick to your doctor’s recommended dosing schedule instead of giving additional doses to ease symptoms.

-Keep all pills in their original bottles to avoid mistakes.  You would be surprised by how similar pills used for vastly different purposes may look!

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