Many bottles of store-brand acetaminophen were recalled on June 16, 2022, after the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that they did not comply with regulations requiring child-resistant packaging.

Because of the potential for poisoning in young children, many goods must be packaged in child-resistant containers. Child-resistant packaging is just one of several options we have to keep medicines out of the hands of minors. However, that isn’t sufficient on its own. 

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As these recalls show, even manufacturers make mistakes from time to time. It’s also possible for the bottles’ caps to be mistakenly left partially off, making them easy for kids to open. Not all children lack the resourcefulness to open child-proof caps.

About 50,000 kids a year go to the ER because they accidentally took too much medicine; nearly always, this is because the kid got into the medicine cabinet without anybody noticing. It’s crucial to secure the bottles so children can’t access them.

Maintaining Drugs in a Secure Location

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Keep any medications in a locked cabinet, out of the reach of youngsters. The best way to ensure that children cannot get drugs is to use numerous levels of security.

Here are some suggestions for keeping medicine bottles out of the reach of children.

Put Medications in a Safe Place That Is Out of the Way.

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Pick somewhere up high, like the highest shelf in a closet. The bottles should also be hidden so that children won’t be tempted to try to open them. Even though the bottles look like they were made for kids, keep medicines safely out of the reach of kids. Medication planners, which help you keep track of your daily doses, should be stored in a secure location.

This is the proper way to store all of your medications. Don’t forget to secure your medication-carrying outerwear and handbags as well. A guest’s handbag or coat pocket could contain drugs. Keep these things where kids can’t get to them.

Always put medicines away after use.

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If you have young children, don’t save time in the morning by putting your medication next to your bed or breakfast. Even if you need to take your medication more than once a day, make sure you keep the bottle locked up each time.

Also, remember to take the child’s meds as prescribed. Give the medication and then put the bottle away; there’s no need to leave it out on the nightstand or the kitchen counter.

Put a tight cap on the bottles.

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The child-proofing feature on prescription drug bottles will not work if the bottle is not tightly closed. When closing a bottle, make sure the lid is on properly before turning it all the way. A clicking noise should occur. Now that you’ve closed it properly, you can test it by giving it a twist to open it without pressing down.

Put medicines behind locked cabinets.

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Lock your medicines for increased safety. If you have teenagers, store medications in a secured cabinet or a lock box meant for medications.

A lockbox is an additional precaution that shouldn’t replace securing the bottles out of reach. In addition, the lockbox itself needs to be kept in a secure location.

Please don’t give your kid any pills.

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Children who require medication while attending school or a childcare facility should have it given directly to the staff. Do not put it in their bag to carry to school. Your child’s caregivers or teachers should give him or her the prescribed medication at the prescribed times.

Bringing children and medication abroad.

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Even more so than at home, keeping children’s medicines locked up when traveling is crucial. Find a high shelf or cabinet in your hotel room to store the bottles. You can either use the hotel safe or bring your own lock box with you. Always know where your medication is whether you’re in a moving vehicle or airplane.

Guide to talking to kids about medications.

As vital as it is to take precautions to keep medication out of the hands of children, education regarding medication safety is also crucial. Instruct kids early on to take their vitamins and medications only when and as directed by a parent or other responsible adult. Age-appropriate discussions regarding the importance of medication safety should be ongoing rather than a one-off.

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It’s never too early to have a conversation with a preschooler about medication safety. Children may benefit from taking vitamins, and parents can explain the benefits and risks of doing so. As kids get older, it’s easier to explain why it’s critical that they only take medicine when they’re sick or hurt, and that they should only take it from a trusted adult like a parent or doctor.

Even if you think it will encourage your child to take their medicine, you should make it clear to them that medicine is not candy, no matter how similar it may look. Never describe a child’s medication as a treat. Warn your kid that vitamins and other delicacies should only be given to them by an adult, and keep all medication out of their reach.

Discarding Medications

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Medication should be discarded as quickly as possible after it has expired or if it is no longer needed. However, you should think carefully before simply discarding it in the trash. Drop boxes are available at many pharmacies and hospitals.

You can get rid of the medication yourself if you can’t find a place to drop it off. The FDA offers a list of drugs that can be disposed of in this way, called the Flush List. Medication that should not be flushed down the toilet can be disposed of by dissolving it in a non-toxic substance, such as coffee grounds or cat litter.

Have a Plan B Ready

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Call Poison Control at (800) 222-1222 if you suspect that your kid has ingested medication. If your child has accidentally ingested medication, call poison control immediately for guidance. By keeping an eye on your child’s condition, they can help you determine whether or not he or she has accidentally ingested something harmful.

Keep the Poison Control number on your phone or fridge so you can call if needed. Make sure that your coworkers in care know this number as well.

One line of defense against accidental poisoning is child-resistant packaging for medicines. Medications should be stored properly and securely out of reach of youngsters. Pick somewhere out of the way, preferably up high. Think about using a lock box, but make sure to keep the box out of the way. Explain to your children early on that medicines must be taken exactly as prescribed.

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