Spring Cleaning Tips for Household Health & Safety, Keep Medicines Out of Reach of Children

September 4, 2018

Every 9 Minutes, a Child Goes to the ER Because They Got into Medicine Left Within Sight or Reach

Dr. Kathleen Wilson, Pediatric and Family Nurse Practitioner, Capital Regional Medical Group

(Washington D.C., Tuesday, March 27, 2018) – The Up and Away campaign—led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) PROTECT Initiative—is providing families with five important spring cleaning tips for household health and safety.

In March, Safe Kids Worldwide reported that every 9 minutes, a child goes to the ER because they got into medicine left within sight or reach, so safe storage and disposal of medicines at home is an urgent issue for parents. Every year, approximately 60,000 young children end up in the emergency room due to accidental medicine ingestions, so it’s important to safely store and dispose of medicines as you’re cleaning and reorganizing areas like bathrooms and medicines cabinets.

CDC and Up and Away urge families to follow these five tips to keep their children healthy:

  1. Clean surfaces. Disinfect surfaces and objects that are touched often, like countertops, doorknobs, keyboards, faucet handles, phones, and toys.
  2. Store safely. When you’re done cleaning and reorganizing, store everything you wouldn’t want your kids to get into, like cleaning products and medicines, in a safe spot up and away and out of sight and reach of young children. Remember to put medicines back in their safe place after you use them every time.
  3. Dispose safely. Dispose of any expired, unused, or unwanted medicines in your home. Make sure to follow recommendations for safe disposal to prevent exposures to medications that have been discarded. Consider bringing expired or unwanted medications to medicine take-back programs.
  4. Be prepared. Check your first aid kit for expired medicines and supplies; medicines that are past their expiration dates may not work as well as they should. Make sure your first aid kit is stored in a location that is accessible to adults, but not to your young children.
  5. Update your contacts. Make sure you have the Poison Help number stored in your cell phone and available to your children’s caregivers: 800-222-1222.

For more information, visit UpandAway.org.

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