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Reporting a Medication Error

This Cold and Flu Season Keep Children Safe — Keep All Medicines up and Away

Published September 15, 2023

The cold and flu season is approaching. This means you or someone in your house may need medicine to treat symptoms of fever, headache, sore throat, and/or achy muscles. It also means medicine may be left out on the counter or carried in diaper bags and purses, putting children at risk for poisoning. This cold and flu season, protect children by following these safety tips.

OUT OF REACH. Pick a place your children cannot reach.

Find a place in your home that is too high for children to reach or see. Different families will have different places. Walk around your home and find the best place to keep your medicines, vitamins, and supplements—especially those in gummy form— up and away, even between doses. Make sure that medicines carried with you (including those in purses, bags, pockets, or pill organizers) are also kept out of sight and reach of young children.

PUT MEDS AWAY. Never leave loose tablets or liquid medicines out on a counter, table, or bedside.

To a young child, tablets can look like candy and liquid medicines can look like sugary drinks, so it’s important to keep them out of children’s reach and sight and in child-resistant containers until right before you take them.

HEAR THE CLICK. At home or away, keep medicines in their original, child resistant containers.

If the medicine has a locking cap that turns, twist it until you can’t twist anymore or hear the “click.” If you must put medicines in other containers, such as pill organizers, check to see if they are child resistant. Many are not and can be easily opened by young children.

TEACH YOUR CHILD. Teach your children about medicine safety.

It’s important to teach your children what medicine is and why you or another caregiver must be the one to give it to them. Never tell children medicine is candy, even if they don’t like to take their medicine.

TELL YOUR GUESTS Inside homes with children, discuss keeping medicine in a safe place.

Remind guests to keep purses, bags, or coats that have medicines in them up and away and out of sight when they’re in your home. If you bring medicines with you to a home with young children, don’t be shy about asking for a place to put your medicines that is out of reach and sight of curious young kids.

Call Poison Help right away if you think your child might have gotten into a medicine, vitamin, or supplement, even if you are not completely sure: (800) 222-1222

Up & Away is an initiative of PROTECT in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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