Morning Safety Minute: Poison prevention and medication safety

Morning Safety Minute: Poison prevention and medication safety

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Poison Prevention Week starts March 19. Julia Phelps, with Safe Kids Cape Fear, said kids often get into things they should not.

She offered a few tips to make sure your family stays safe.

Safe Storage:

  • Place medicines, including vitamins, in high storage places out of a child’s reach.
    • Most children get into medicines that are found on the ground or misplaced (27%), left in purses (20%), and on nightstands (20%).
  • Install a child safety lock on cabinets or consider a personal lock box.
  • Clean out old, unused and expired medications frequently.
  • Child-resistant does not mean child-proof; with time and persistence a child may be able to open the packaging.
  • Common forgotten medications include: make-up, art supplies, eye drops, diaper rash cream, laxatives, vitamins, and vapor rub creams.
    • The leading cause of non-medical exposure calls to poison control centers for children age 5 and under were due to cosmetic and personal care products.
  • Grandparents medication account for majority of poisonings (38%); mother’s medicine (31%); sibling’s medicine (12%); father’s medicine (8%); aunt/uncle medication (5%); known/other source (6%).

Safe Use:

  • Use medications the way they were intended and prescribed to be used.
    • Don’t adjust your dosage without consenting your prescriber.
  • Read the label and use the measuring device that came with the medication.
    • Kitchen utensils such as teaspoon and tablespoon will not measure the same as the device that came with the medication.
  • Never share medications, even amongst household members.
  • Never use “leftover” medications.
    • The integrity of medications can change over time.
  • Give clear instructions for medications to grandparents or caregivers that may watch the child in your absence.
    • Include time of dose given, amount of dose given, and the next time the dose can be administered.

Safe Disposal:

  • Unused medications should be disposed as soon as possible to prevent unintentional use, diversion, or accidental ingestion.
  • Medications should not be thrown in the trash, sink or toilet.
  • There are medication disposal events and permanent medication drop boxes in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender County.
    • Locations
    • Upcoming drop off events:
      • NHRMC Medical Mall on Saturday, April 1st from 9am-12pm.
      • Dosher Memorial Hospital in Southport on Thursday, April 6th from 9am-1pm.

What to do if your child ingests a potentially harmful substance:

  • Store the number to the Poison Control in your phone: 1-800-222-1222
    • Place the number on your refrigerator for babysitters or other caregivers to access quickly.
    • Website
  • Trained pharmacists, nurses and doctors with backgrounds in poisons and medications are the ones that answer the phone.
    • It’s a confidential call and available 24/7.
  • If the child has collapsed, is not breathing, or has a seizure, call 911.
  • Do not give the child anything to ingest until you have discussed it with the poison control center.
    • Drinking water may make the situation worse and activate the substance.
  • Have the container or bottle on hand to answer questions when calling.

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