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Childhood Wellness

How to Safely Store OTC Medicines Away from Children

Anita Brikman

Executive Director, CHPA Educational Foundation

More than 240 million people rely on over-the-counter (OTC) medicines each year to safely, effectively and conveniently treat a broad range of symptoms. It’s important to know how to use, store and dispose of OTCs appropriately — especially if you have young children at home.

Where parents and other caregivers store medicines is a critical component of safe use. 46 percent of adults say they could do a better job of properly and safely storing OTC medicines, and 36 percent of parents say the location where OTCs are stored in their home is accessible to a child. The consequences of this behavior are serious. Approximately 60,000 young children are brought to the emergency room each year after getting into medicines that were left within reach. Below, you will find a few quick tips on safe storage to help keep your children safe:

  • Store medicines up and away and out of your child’s reach and sight.
  • Remind houseguests not to leave medicines in bags, coats or other reachable places that children can get into.
  • Lock the child safety cap completely — until you hear the click — after every time you use a medicine.
  • Don’t tell your children medicine is candy, even if they don’t like to take their medicine.
  • Be mindful when visiting or traveling with family — grandparents are four times more likely than parents to keep prescription medicine in easy-access places.
  • Save the Poison Help number in your phone: 1-800-222-1222.

Anita Brikman, Executive Director, CHPA Educational Foundation, [email protected]

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