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Is Your Medicine Cabinet Safe for Your Children?

Medicines - including prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications - are essential to maintaining good health, and most households contain a number of different medicines. While most parents know that they should keep medicines in a cabinet that is unreachable by children, many parents and caregivers neglect to do so and the number of medicine exposures is on the rise as a result.

In fact, the number of children who suffered medicine poisonings in 2011 increased 30 percent over the past 10 years, according to a new report from Safe Kids Worldwide, which consolidated information on the Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

The "Keeping Young Children Safe Around Medicine" report revealed that more than 67,000 children ages 4 and younger were treated in emergency departments for medicine poisoning in 2011 and nearly half of all fatal poisonings involved over-the-counter and prescription medications.

Medicine cabinets are designed, in part, to keep medications away from young children, but, unfortunately, medicine cabinets are not used as often as they should be. In fact, according to the report, cabinets were the least likely place for kids to find medications, with most medications found on the ground, in a purse or wallet, on the counter, or in pillboxes.

In the report, Safe Kids issued the following recommendations for parents, grandparents, and caregivers:

  • Keep medicine in child-resistant packages.

  • Store medicine where children cannot see or reach them.

  • Put guests' bags, purses, and coats up and away from young children.

  • Between dosings, always put the medicine away and don't be tempted to keep medicines "handy," such as on a counter or nightstand, or in a purse or briefcase.

  • To help remember to take medicines, send yourself an email or set an alarm on your watch or cell phone.

  • To safely dispose of most medications, pour the medication into sealable plastic bag. Add water to dilute solid medications, as well as kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds or another material that mixes the medication and makes it less appealing for children and pets to consume.

According to the report, the following medicines were involved in the most pediatric exposures during 2011: ibuprofen (both children's and adult's), diaper rash products, children's acetaminophen, children's vitamin tablets, antihistamines, systemic antibiotic medications, calcium and calcium salts, laxatives, and homeopathic medicines.

The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish are committed to protecting children and consumers from dangerous products and medical risks, including unsafe medical devices and unsafe pharmaceutical products. Contact Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish at (800) 784-0150 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago accident and injury lawyers.

Steinberg Goodman & Kalish  ( is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (800) 784-0150 or (312) 782-1386.

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