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09 June 2010

Family visits: Play it safe

Many young children visit their grandparents on a frequent basis, which means seniors have to make sure their homes are poison-proof before the kids arrive.

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It's great when the grandchildren come to visit and spend time, but grandparents need to remember that prescription medicines are dangerous and they should poison-proof their homes before the kids arrive.

Some of the medicines commonly used by older adults can be deadly to young children, even when they're ingested in small quantities, says the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC).

For example, a single diabetes pill can dangerously lower a child's blood sugar, causing seizures and coma. Many drugs used to control heart disease and arthritis can be fatal to children who swallow only a few pills.

Simple safety steps 
Here are some simple steps that grandparents can take to reduce the risk of accidental poisonings:

  • Keep all medicines and vitamins in containers with child-resistant caps. Don't keep medicines in cups or 'reminder containers.' After using the product, always make sure the child-resistant cap is properly secured.
  • Ensure that all medicines, cleaning products and other household chemicals are out of reach of children and locked away.
  • Go through your medicine cabinet and flush outdated medicines down the toilet. Rinse liquids bottles before you discard them.
  • When you take your medicines, do it out of the child's view. Children love to imitate adults.
  • Keep your foods and household chemicals stored apart from each other.
  • Keep products in their original containers. Don't put paints, solvents, lamp oil or pesticides in bottles, glasses, or jars that are usually used for food.
  • If a child does swallow medicines or chemicals - or you suspect it - call a doctor immediately. Post the number in a visible location near your phone.

(Joanne Hart, Health24, June 2010)

Source:  American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC)

 
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