More than 80 percent of grandparents don’t move their prescription and over-the-counter drugs and supplements to a different place when their grandchildren visit them, putting the youngsters at risk for accidental poisoning, according to recent data from the University of Michigan’s National Poll on Healthy Aging.
Most poll respondents said they store their medications in a cabinet or cupboard, and others keep them on a countertop or table. Most grandparents transfer meds to easy-to-open containers. Grandparents also need to be more cautious when they visit their grandchildren, the poll found; more than 70 percent reported keeping their medications in a purse or a bag, and 7 percent place them on a counter in the child’s home.
What you should do
Nearly 40 percent of children treated in the emergency department for medicine-related poisoning are admitted because they take a grandparent’s medication, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. If you have grandchildren, make sure all drugs are locked up and out of reach. If possible, store medicine in childproof containers. And keep the number of the National Poison Control Centers—1-800-222-1222—on hand.
This article first appeared in UC Berkeley Health After 50.
Also see Laundry Pod Caution.