You are likely fully aware that mixing children and medications should be handled with care. With most children putting everything they find in their mouth we have a responsibility to ensure that nothing that can do harm is available for the taste test.
There are more cases of accidental poisonings than you may realize. On average, there are about 800,000 emergency room visits per year in the United States that are the result of a child ingesting medications that are not properly contained, and about 70% of these children are between the ages of 1 and 2. (1)
An accident may not become apparent immediately, and by the time you realise something is wrong the damage may already be very harmful to your baby. This is an area where you do not want to take any chances.
Take stock of your medications, vitamins, or first aid items in your house. Then let’s work through these steps to minimse the risks of something falling into the wrong hands.
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Your Child Proof Medicine Box Shopping List:
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Think Like a Child
Try and see things from your child’s perspective. See what is within her reach (or what can easily be climbed to). Think like your child to try when child proofing to try and plan for every possible scenario.
First thing to think about is that everything that can be grabbed, will be grabbed. Especially if it is something that Mommy and Daddy use (which, of course, makes it so much cooler and more interesting).
Second, know that everything that comes into contact with your child’s hands will likely be licked, chewed on, or eaten.
Children, especially babies and toddlers, find the need to test everything with their mouths. Not sure why, but it is just a fact. So, your medicines are also at risk for consumption, especially when she sees you taking your multivitamin every day and wants to copy you.
Finally, anything that can be broken into, will be. This includes your trash, whether you like it or not. You need to be careful with how you dispose of expired or damaged medications.
If you have a trashcan with a locking lid, this would be a good time to put it to use. But, just like everything else that is “child proof”, this feature is not 100 percent fool-proof. Your best option would be to immediately remove the trash that has the medication that has been disposed of from the house.
Store Them All in One Place
If you are like me, you may have medication and vitamins in various places, always be prepared for surprises. Aspirin in the purse, antibiotic ointment in the bathroom, vitamins in the kitchen. You will save yourself quite a headache if you find yourself a central place to keep all of these things.
Ideally, you will want it to be somewhere cool and dry so that your medications are not affected. So, this probably means not in the bathroom.
You will also want to try and find a place that is out of your child’s reach to store everything, if possible, even if you think your child cannot get into the packaging or bottle. Child safety caps are not necessarily always child proof.
A very determined toddler can figure out how to get around these obstacles (and finds great satisfaction in accomplishing this feat).
Be Aware of the Types and Dangers
In case your child was to get into something, you will want to know what exactly it is that she has ingested. Be sure to keep all pills, whether medicine or vitamins, in their original packaging so you can easily identify which of the numerous white pills she has.
Research what you are keeping in your house, knowing common side effects to be looking out for. You should also look into the medications you are keeping that are not to be taken orally, like creams and suppositories. Regardless of the fact that they are not to be eaten, everything goes into a child’s mouth if she gets her hands on it.
And, of course, in a worst-case scenario, you are going to want to know how to handle the situation. Have the poison control number handy to call in case of an emergency. It is probably best to have it programmed into your cell phone for quick and easy access.
You are also going to need to help your child purge her stomach to try and avoid the most damage that you can until you are able to get her to the doctor.
Lock Them Up
As an extra precaution, there are some great products that you can use to keep your medications locked up tight and out of your child’s grasp.
If you are keeping your medications in a lower cabinet, you will want to invest in a medicine safe.
It is large enough to store nearly all of your medication (11 inches x 6.2 inches x 7.4 inches) without being cumbersome and hard to transport to where it is needed. It even comes fitted with internal organization for all of your various bottles and boxes. Most importantly, it has a combination lock which allows you in and keeps your child out.
If you have too much to fit into a single medicine safe, then you will want to get a child proof lock for the cabinet where you are storing your vitamins and medications. There are many good ones, but this magnetic lock by Safety Baby is a great choice.
Invisible on the outside, it holds your cabinet door shut tighter than the commonly used cabinet catches. It keeps the door locked until it is disengaged with the provided magnet “key”.
Another option, though not as child proof as the previously mentioned methods, is to do some DIY organization. You can get some cheap locking plastic tubs to keep your varying medical, first aid, and vitamin items separated and labeled. You will want to store these in a higher cabinet, though, as a very determined toddler or young child can figure out how to undo the latches on the plastic containers.
Locking up your medications and vitamins should be one of the first items on your to-do list of child proofing tasks. It is better to be prepared for something that may never happen, than to assume it could never happen to you and have an unfortunate accident occur.
If you want more information – Check out our complete guide to child proofing here.