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‘Tis the Season for Medication Safety

December 23, 2014   |   Alliance for Aging Research Team   |   Medication Safety, Prevention
Elderly person opening pill box.

We are sharing this guest blog post from our friends at the Up and Away Campaign about medication safety during the holidays. To learn more about how the Alliance is promoting medication safety please visit here.

Every year, thousands of young children are taken to hospital emergency departments after they get into medicines while their parents or caregivers aren’t looking. According to a recent Safe Kids Worldwide report:

  • Every minute of every day, a poison control center answers a call about a young child getting into medicine.
  • In 3 out of 4 cases, the medicine belonged to a parent or grandparent.
  • 1 out of every 8 grandparents who take care of grandkids every day keeps prescription medicines on easy-to-reach nightstands or dressers.

Accidental medication ingestions don’t take a vacation, but going on vacation may increase the chances of accidental ingestions, such as when children visit grandparents’ homes or when families take medicines with them when traveling.

Follow these 7 tips to keep your holiday season a healthy and happy one for your young children!

1. When packing for your holiday trip, keep medicines in their original child-resistant containers. Other containers, such as pill organizers and baggies, often lack child safety features and can be easily accessed by young children.

2. Before young children come to visit, make sure that all medicines are up and away in a place inaccessible to them. Make sure that purses, bags, or coats that have medicines in them are also kept up and away.

3. Return medicines to a safe storage location immediately after each and every use. Never leave medicines out on a kitchen counter or at a sick child’s bedside, even if you have to give the medicine again in a few hours.

4. Always relock the safety cap on your medicine bottles. If your medicine has a cap that turns, twist it until you hear the click or can’t twist anymore.

5. When staying with family or friends this holiday season, don’t be shy about asking them where to put your medicines so they’re out of the sight and reach of children.

6. While staying in a hotel, secure your medicines in a location that your children can’t see or reach, such as a high cabinet or passcode-protected hotel room safe.

7. Wherever you’re in the United States, you can reach a poison center by dialing 1800-222-1222. Program the number into your phones and call right away if you think your child might have gotten into medicine.

Learn more at and follow us on Twitter at @OTCSafety.

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