Candy or Medicine? Keep Kids Safe and Prevent Tragic Accidents This Easter

Blog Candy Pills Craft

Learn which medicines can be easily mistaken for candy by young children, and what you can do to protect your children.

Easter baskets are a sweet sign of Spring. But take heed: Preschoolers can easily mistake common drugs for treats brought by the Bunny. “We call them lookalikes—medicines that resemble candy,” says James B. Mowry, PharmD, manager of poison control at Indiana University Health. “Most young children can’t tell products apart by reading labels. They look at shapes and colors.” In fact, Dr. Mowry says about 50 percent of all calls to Indiana’s poison center concern kids ages 6 and under, and many involve accidental ingestion of lookalike drugs.

Your first line of defense: “Store all medicines and poisons out of sight and out of reach of children. And never keep such items near food or drinks,” Dr. Mowry says. Reduce your child’s risk of drug poisoning even further by avoiding these common mistakes.

Look-Alike Drugs

Mistake 1: Assuming safety containers are secure

Child-resistant doesn’t mean child-proof. “The industry standard is that a child cannot get into a medicine container within 10 minutes,” Dr. Mowry explains. “The flip side is that adults need to get into the container within five minutes. With enough time, even young children can defeat a safety cap.” He says parents sometimes leave kids alone with a medicine bottle due to an unexpected distraction—say, the phone rings or the kitchen timer beeps. “That might be all the time your child needs,” Dr. Mowry warns. His advice: Never ever leave medicine out, even in a closed container.

Mistake 2: Letting down your guard on vacation

Whether you’re jetting away for the spring holiday or hosting overnight guests, travel containers can pose risks to young kids. “Most portable pill minders and medicine boxes are not child-resistant,” Dr. Mowry points out. And many are made of clear plastic, leaving lookalike meds visible. On family trips, opt for opaque containers with child-resistant features, or safeguard meds in a bag with lockable compartments. For guests staying in your home, offer a lockable drawer or an out-of-reach shelf for medications.

Mistake 3: Relying on warning stickers

Once recommended for households with young children, adhesive warning labels with pictures like Mr. Yuk or a stop sign are now considered poor deterrents. “We’ve found that the stickers create a situation where parents have to label everything that’s poisonous; otherwise a child can think that anything lacking a sticker is safe to ingest,” Dr. Mowry explains. And even if you could label all dangerous substances in your home, studies have shown that curious kids are often attracted to the bright stickers, he notes. Better to store harmful substances out of sight and out of reach altogether.

If your child accidentally ingests a harmful substance, call the American Association of Poison Centers at 1.800.222.1222.

The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained operators can advise you on administering first aid and—in the minority of cases when necessary—coordinate care with local emergency responders.

-- By Erin Quinlan

Viewing all posts in …

Other Blog Posts That May Interest You

Blog blog-choosing-good-role-models-09282015

Choosing Good Role Models

Everyday Wellness

Having a role model isn’t child’s play – both kids and adults look up to other, influential people...

Continue reading
Blog blog-prevent-cyber-bullying-09282015

Prevent Cyber Bullying

Everyday Wellness

You may think you know what your child is doing online, but chances are you don’t know the full...

Continue reading
Blog Teen Pills Web

Pain Pills and Kids: Hidden Opioid Dangers in Your Home

Everyday Wellness

Young children tend to get into their parents’ medicine stash accidentally, though there is an increasing number of teenagers who are intentionally abusing opioids, according to a recent report.

Continue reading

Viewing all posts in …