March 15 – 21 is National Poison Prevention Week
Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert want to help you keep your children safe from medicines and vitamins that could cause them harm.
“More than 60,000 young children end up in emergency rooms each year because they got into medicines while their parent or caregiver wasn’t looking. Any kind of medicine or vitamin can cause harm if taken the wrong way or by the wrong person, even those you buy without a prescription. It is important to understand the basic information on poison prevention in the home, such as keeping medicine, vitamins, and chemicals out of the reach of children and carefully reading the labels and dosages on all products,” said Dr. Ruppert.
Children are curious and put all kinds of things in their mouths. Even if you turn your back for less than a minute, they can quickly get into something that could hurt them. Protect your child at home, on vacation, and even when you are a guest in others’ homes.
Follow these important safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Put medicines and vitamins up and away out of children’s reach and sight. Pick a place your children cannot reach. Any kind of medicine or vitamin can cause harm if taken the wrong way, even those you can buy without a prescription. Walk around your house and find a storage place too high for a child to reach or see.
Put medicines away every time. Never leave them out on a kitchen counter or at a sick child’s bedside, even if you have to give the medicine again in a few hours. Always put medicine and vitamins away (out of reach) every time you use them, including those you use every day.
Make sure the safety cap is locked. Always relock the safety cap. If the medicine has a locking cap that turns, twist it until you hear the click, or you cannot twist anymore. Remember, even though many medicines and vitamins have safety caps, children may be able to open them. Always store every medicine and vitamin up, away, and out of children’s sight.
Teach your children about medicine safety. Tell your children what medicine is and why you must be the one to give it to them. Never tell children medicine is candy to get them to take it, even if your child does not like to take his or her medicine.
Tell your guests about medicine safety. Ask houseguests, babysitters, and visitors to keep purses, bags, or coats that have medicine or vitamins in them up, away, and out of sight when they are in your home. They should also put all medicines and vitamins up and away in their own home when children are visiting them.
Be prepared in case of an emergency. Call the Poison Help Center at 1-800-222-1222 right away if you think your child might have gotten into medicine or vitamins. Program the number into your home and cell phones so you will have it if you need it.
To learn more about storing medications safely at home and when traveling with young children, visit www.upandaway.org/ or call the Health Department’s Healthy Neighborhoods Program at 845-364-3290 or 845-364-3292.
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