Visiting Grandma is fun, but can be dangerous because medicines may be out and easily accessible.  You have childproofed your home, how about grandma’s?

  • Older adults will often have their medicines sitting out on tables and nightstands and counters and sinks because seeing their medicines reminds them to take them
  • Older adults have difficulty opening the “child resistant” tops on medicine bottles so they leave the tops loose or remove them all together
  • Weekly medicine boxes filled with lots of pills have tops that easily flip open
  • Older adults think that over-the-counter medicines are not dangerous and do not store them in safe places
  • Older adults have many chronic illnesses requiring very potent and dangerous medicines

Did you know?

  • Only 1 pill of some medicines can be deadly
  • Unintentional poisonings from medicines cause more emergency room visits for young children each year than do car accidents
  • “Every 10 minutes a young child in the U.S. is taken to the emergency room because of possible poisoning from swallowing a prescription or over-the-counter medicine”
  • In one recent study, 23 % of grandparents reported storing prescription medicine in easy-to-access places, including daily-dose boxes that children can open and 18% percent of grandparents store over-the-counter medicines in easily accessible spots
  • Many prescription pills resemble candy and children cannot tell the difference
  • Among teenagers who are 12 to 17 years old, 7.4 % reported past-year nonmedical use of prescription medications
  • One in every five teens were abusing prescription medicines in 2009, and one in every four teens in 2010

What can you do?

  • Ask grandparents, aunts and uncles to move all of their medicines to a safe and secure area while your children (including teenagers) are visiting their home
  • Always check around the house when you visit for any medicines that may be sitting out. Put them away in a secure safe place during the visit, but remember to put them back where you found them before you leave
  • Medicine cabinets are easily accessible by both small children and teenagers so be aware of what is stored there
  • Always call your local Poison Center if you suspect that any medicine has been taken or maybe missing

In Good Health,

Health Champion