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Proper medicine management can prevent poisonings at home
Mar 18, 2014
Poisoning is now the leading cause of death from injuries in the United States, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As part of National Poison Prevention Week, Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company encourages people to use good judgment in storing and disposing of medicines to prevent poisonings at home.
"Keep your medications where you can keep track of them," said Al Clark, assistant vice president for Special Investigations at Grinnell Mutual. "Keeping medicine in a safe place away from children can avoid an accidental poisoning."
More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the nation’s poison centers. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, approximately 90 percent of poisonings happen at home, and 51 percent of poisonings involve children under the age of six. The majority of fatal poisonings occur among adults, especially older adults.
Poisoning prevention is in your hands. The following medicine safety tips can help you protect yourself and loved ones in your home.
Store medicine in a locked cabinet.
Ensure children can’t use chairs or stack items to climb to products stored out of their reach. Install safety latches on cabinets used for medicines.
Never leave your medicine out.
"Look at where you’re keeping your medication," said Clark. "Are they within reach of small children?"
Always store medicines and household products up high, away and out of sight from children. Never leave medicine out on a kitchen counter or at a sick child’s bedside.
Clean out your medicine cabinet periodically.
Safely dispose of medicines that are expired or no longer needed.
"An ounce of prevention, in this case, is worth more than a pound of cure," said Clark. "Don’t spend a whole day in an emergency room when you could have taken an extra five seconds to put medicines out of reach."
Always relock the safety cap.
If the medicine has a locking cap that turns, twist it until you hear the click or you cannot twist any further. Close medicines if interrupted during use. Many incidents happen when adults are distracted while using these products. Remember that child-resistant is not childproof—it is designed to keep children away from the product for a short time before a parent notices.
Never call medicine "candy."
Tell children what medicine is and why you must be the one to give it to them. Never call medicine "candy" to get a child to take it.
In case of a poison emergency, contact your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222.