Debra Hasbrook, M.Ed.
In this day and age is seems like many people are popping pills for everything. Prescribed medications, diet pills and herbal supplements to name a few. Children are always watching you. Whatever you do, they may want to emulate. So if they see you ingesting medication or herbal supplements they may do the same if the situation presents itself: even if you tell them not to.
Prescription and over the counter medication safety is an ongoing concern. This concern is not just for toddlers and preschool children, but for teens as well. Containers are generally effective if the tops are correctly closed. However many older children and teens are able to open these containers. I have witnessed an older adult who was unable to open the medication hand it to the ten year old grandson who easily removed the cap.
Herbal supplements rarely have childproof capping. Herbal supplements can be just as dangerous as prescribed medications. Many of these supplements are not approved by the FDC so there may be no way to really know what is inside, or what extra ingredients were added. Some herbal supplements, even at a low dose, could harm a child.
A growing concern is the use of a parents, or grandparent’s medications by teens for recreational use. Occasionally someone will take these medications and share or sell them to friends.
The family medicine cabinet is not as safe as you assume. Small children love to climb, and older children and teens have easy access. It is a wise decision to put all medications and supplements in a spot not easily accessible. Certain medications such as pain medication should be put in a locked box, not the sock drawer, kitchen counter, or a purse left within reach.
Remember to dispose of medications responsibly. Out of date medication can be harmful. Do not flush them as the chemicals can enter the water system causing a toxic stew passed on to others. Call your pharmacist who will tell you how to dispose of outdated, and unused medication.
With care you can keep your children, medication, and supplements safe and secure.