Keep out of reach of children. That’s what the package says. But I don’t think they’ve met my youngest daughter. That child climbs!
Not only does she climb, but she’s the brightest of a bright family of children and figures out how to bypass most of our attempts to shield her from … well, her own lack of experience.
Annually, more than 67,000 children go to an emergency room for medicine poisoning.
According to Safekids.org, it averages to about one child every eight minutes.
Quite often the medication poisoning is not caused by accidentally overdosing a child but rather because a child found their way into the medication and took it.
Most medications are not safe for children. Keeping them out of the hands of a child can save their life.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Children tend to be curious about what they can see.
If your medications are out of sight, then they’re less likely to explore. But, it’s not enough to be out of sight.
Medications need to be out of reach as well.
Children are quick and they’re resourceful. Walk around your home and look for a place that is both out of reach and out of sight. Keep in mind that vitamins should also be kept out of reach of your children. Vitamin poisoning can be deadly.
So where can you keep medications?
There are different options and your home may have some possibilities or limitations. Let’s take a look at some different approaches.
Top of the linen closet
If you have a linen closet, that’s a place that children don’t often visit. And if the top shelf is out of reach then it may be a great location.
If you use a step stool to reach the top shelf in the closet, don’t keep the stool in the closet. Keep it in another room so your children can’t use it.
In a lock box
In addition to placing your medications and vitamins up high, consider storing all of your items in a locked box. You might keep the key on your key ring or put it in a safe place where adults, care givers and baby sitters can access it but your children cannot.
If you have children like my daughter who will climb every mountain, scale every wall, a lock box is your best bet for all things you need to keep away from the child.
Over the refrigerator
If you have a cupboard over your refrigerator, this can be an easy access location for adults but too high for children.
To be very honest, it’s too high and difficult for me to access – I’m only five feet tall!
The pantry isn’t a great idea because many pantries have stools or ladders. If your child can climb, they can get to the medications.
Another option is to put the medications in the top of the closet in your bathroom or bedroom.
Children probably aren’t allowed in those spaces so the medications may be safer. We lock our bedroom door when we’re not in it for just that reason. The only problem is if you have little ones who wake up and creep around before you’re awake!
Taking It a Step Further
In addition to keeping vitamins and medications out of reach, make sure to always close the medications and test them to make sure they’re closed.
Child proof caps only work if they’re on properly.
Also, don’t leave medications out. If a child is sick, give them their medication and then put it away. And definitely don’t ever forget to put away your blood pressure meds, your heart pills, your muscle relaxers or whatever powerful medications you take!
Finally, talk to your children about the dangers of taking medication themselves. An adult or a doctor should always administer medications. When a child accepts that, they’re less likely to experiment.