Every year, the Health Resources & Services Administration’s Poison Help Line receives 2.1 million calls. The administration estimates more than 90% of poisonings occur at home.
To raise awareness about the dangers of household poisoning, Congress designated the third week in March National Poison Prevention Week.
Children can be especially susceptible. In some instances, medication can look and taste like candy and can be tempting for small children.
During this week, staff at Augusta University Health and Safe Kids of Greater Augusta is working to bring awareness to medication overdose risks among children.
They have developed a project initiative called ‘Up and Away’ to teach parents, grandparents and other caregivers to put their medications “up and away.”
Tips for preventing medication poisoning in children include:
- Keep medications (including those carried in purses, bags, pockets or pill organizers) in a safe location that is too high for young children to reach or see.
- Never leave medication or vitamins out on the counter, table or at a sick child’s bedside.
- Keep medications in child-resistant containers until right before you take them.
- Teach children what medicine is and why you or another caregiver must be the one to give it to them.
- Remind babysitters, houseguests and visitors to keep purses, bags and coats that have medicines in them “up and away.”
Do not refer to medicine as “candy,” as this confuses children.
Unwanted, unused or expired medications can be properly disposed of at a designated medicine disposal kiosk. For a list of places near you, go to the My Old Meds website.