Visiting Family This Holiday? Keep Meds Up and Away

Before long, families will gather to celebrate the holidays and enjoy the unconditional love of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Keeping small children safe during this whirlwind of a season can be challenging with all the fragile decorations, lit fireplaces and adult beverages in abundance.  But what many may overlook is the danger prescription medication belonging to visiting relatives can present.   Not used to having little ones underfoot, older adults can forget they need to safely store their medications out of the reach of small hands and mouths.

This scenario became a sad reality in Toronto earlier this week where a toddler died as a result of swallowing a morphine pill the 13-month-old found in the unlocked bedroom of a visiting family member.  The tragedy serves as a reminder for caregivers of young children to make sure everyone in the house keeps all prescription medication safely stored out of reach of children.  According to Global News,  in some cases just one pill can result in the death of a small child.

Seniors, who have difficulty with child safe medication bottles due to arthritis may use weekly drug dispensers to keep track of daily doses and lessen frustration with finicky lids. But the array of colorful pills can look like candy to a youngster.  And when adults are busy cooking and chatting, kids can look for ways to keep themselves occupied by investigating their surroundings.  Bags containing medication should never be left on the floor or within reach on counter tops.

Nearly 60,000 young children in the United States are brought to an emergency room each year because they ingested medication that was left within reach.   Even over-the-counter medicine or vitamins can be dangerous so remind guests to keep all medicines up and away in a high place small children can’t reach.  Common causes of poisoning include pain relievers, sleeping medications, antidepressant medication and heart and blood pressure medications; all of which can be very dangerous if a young child ingests them by mistake.

Seniors can post a reminder schedule in visible location rather than keep medicines in an accessible area or set a reminder on their phone.  Parents can teach their children about medication safety and remind them never to take any medication themselves without the knowledge of a trusted caregiver.

In case of an emergency, keep the number of poison prevention nearby.  In the United States call 1-800-222-1222 for poison prevention information or dial 911.  For more home safety information, visit .