Washington, D.C., September 4, 2014 – This Sunday, September 7, we celebrate National Grandparents Day to honor the special bond these more than 70 million individuals have with their grandchildren.Many play a primary role in their grandchildren’s lives. More than 5.4 million children are being raised in households headed by grandparents, and one in eight grandparents care for a grandchild on a regular basis.
While grandparents place a top priority on their grandchildren’s safety, an often overlooked danger lurks within easy reach of children in their care: unsecured medications. The facts are sobering:
- Every year, more than 60,000 children age five or younger are treated in an emergency room (ER) for accidental medicine poisoning. In 86 percent of those ER visits, the child had easy access to the medication. And in 38 percent of cases, the medicine belonged to a grandparent.
- Older adults account for 34 percent of prescription drug use and 30 percent of nonprescription or over-the-counter medication use.
- In a Safe Kids survey, grandparents identified electrical outlets over medicine as a top safety issue, even though children are 36 times more likely to go to the ER for medicine poisoning.
In order to raise awareness about this important issue, the Alliance for Aging Research is collaborating with the Consumer Healthcare Products Association Educational Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s PROTECT Initiative to promote the Up and Away and Out of Sight medicine safe storage campaign to grandparents and senior communities.
“This campaign raises awareness about the need to keep medications in a safe, secure location,” says Susan Peschin, MHS, president and CEO for the Alliance for Aging Research. “By taking this simple precaution, we can make major strides in keeping our children and grandchildren safe.”
Resources aimed at raising awareness include a downloadable tip sheet with stats and info on how to safely store medicines while young grandchildren are present. This tip sheet and other resources are available here. More tips will be available on Twitter using the hashtag #MedsUpAway.
- Store all medicines and vitamins up and away and out of sight.
- Keep purses, bags and coats that contain medicines or vitamins out of reach and sight.
- Never leave medicines or vitamins out on a table, countertop or sink.
- Always make sure that caps are tightly locked and medicines put away after every use.
- Set a convenient daily reminder to take your medicines and vitamins since they will be safely stored up and away and out of sight.
“We encourage grandparents, parents, senior centers and likeminded organizations to display this tip sheet and share it through email, social media or an enewsletter,” says Peschin.
“By storing all medicines up and away and out of sight, grandparents can reduce the odds that their grandchild will get into a medicine when they shouldn’t, thus keeping children safe and sound in their home,” says Emily Skor, executive director of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association Educational Foundation.
About the Alliance for Aging Research
The Alliance for Aging Research is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their application in order to vastly improve the universal human experience of aging and health. Visit here for more information.
About the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) Educational Foundation
The CHPA Educational Foundation’s mission is to be the trusted source of information on responsible use of consumer healthcare products, including over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and dietary supplements. It is supported by CHPA, the 133-year-old trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and dietary supplements. Visit here for more information.
About The PROTECT Initiative
The PROTECT Initiative is an innovative collaboration bringing together public health agencies, private sector companies, professional organizations, consumer/patient advocates, and academic experts to develop strategies to keep children safe from unintentional medication overdoses. For more info, visit here.