When my son was an infant and rolled over for the first time, like any new mom I took all of the appropriate steps: video taped his latest feat, took pictures and immediately sent them to his grandparents, and then began to panic. This little guy was going to be mobile and I needed to babyproof everything! With my new rolling (and, let’s be honest, barely mobile) baby in tow, I walked into the largest baby store I could find and headed straight to the babyproofing aisle. Before me stood a giant wall with every lock, latch, gate, protective cover, cushy foam liner, and things I didn’t know what they’d protect kids from, and I bought it all. All of it. When I installed something that resembled a padlock on the toilet that neither my husband or I could unlock , I knew I’d gone too far. So I eased up on babyproofing every square foot of the house and kept to the essentials (the toilet was not one of them), but keeping medicines up and away was on the top of my list. But now that my kids are a little older, I’ve realized that medicines in this house aren’t far enough out of reach and that needs to change today!
When I read on OTCsaftey.org that more than 60,000 young children end up in the emergency room every year because they got into medicines when their parents or caregivers weren’t looking, I acted like a lot of parents and thought “not in my house.” We were storing our over the counter medicines and vitamins in a kitchen cupboard up and away and out of sight for a young toddler. However, now that my kids are three and five and growing like weeds, our medicines that I thought were in a safe place really aren’t. Look what happened when I asked my five-year-old son if he knew where Mommy kept the medicine.
He quickly grabbed a step stool he uses to reach the sink when he brushes his teeth, pushed it up to the cupboard where we keep all the medicines, and could grab a few bottles from the bottom shelf. With a little boost onto the counter, he could reach everything. Everything I thought I’d securely put away, he could reach. So my initial thought of “not in my house” was not the case. Scary, right?
I’ve put all of our medicines and vitamins into a box that I can lock and I’ve moved it to a higher shelf that I need to get on my tip toes to reach. Now I know everything is out of reach of tiny hands. But what happens when my kids aren’t at my house? What happens when they are visiting my parents house?
Telling your parents what they need to do in their own home can be a little tricky, believe me I get it. I just convinced my dad that Netflix is a blessing from the TV Gods after months of touting the benefits of streaming. Ridiculous.
Grandparents haven’t had to babyproof years, but opening up the lines of communication with grandparents can save your children’s life. I shared some of the facts I learned on the Up and Away’s website like 38% of the time, the medicine that a child gets into belongs to a grandparent and 39% it’s a parent’s medicine. Children most commonly find these medicines on kitchen counters, nightstands and dressers, in purses and bags, or on the ground. Then I showed my mom the pictures of my son able to reach the medicine I thought was secure.
The pictures scared her as much as it scared me, and she’s assured me she’s going through her house to move all medicines before our visit this weekend. After all, she loves these two rug rats, and who could blame her?
So what can you do to protect your kids?
- Take inventory in your own home and before traveling to a grandparent’s house or they visit yours, be ready to have a conversation about safe storage
- Follow the safe medicine storage tips recommended by CDC’s PROTECT Initiative and its Up and Away and Out of Sight campaign
- Log onto Up & Away and Take The Pledge and share this information with your friends and caregivers.
So, friends, what are you going to do in your home to make sure you medicines are Up and Away?
Up and Away is an educational program to remind families of the importance of safe medicine storage. It is an initiative of the PROTECT Initiative, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association Educational Foundation. I am being compensated for this blog post but my opinions are all my own.