Parents are responsible for teaching their children life skills. One lesson parents sometimes overlook is how to safely handle medicine. Many put the bottles out of reach, but don't discuss medicine with their children. In order to prepare children for the real world, they need to understand how to correctly handle medicines and the consequences of incorrect use.
Parents with young children should keep all medicines locked up and out of reach. Even better, keep vitamins, supplements and pills out of sight of toddlers and pre-schoolers. They are not old enough to understand safe handling.
As children enter school, it’s time to start talking about medicines. When dosing medicine for a child, talk about how important it is to provide the correct amount of medicine. Show them how you read the label and use the provided dosing device. Measurements need to be accurate, not approximate. Never use household spoons to measure medicine. Always use the device provided with the medicine or the proper measuring spoons.
Explain that child safety caps are on medicine bottles for a reason. Let your child know that they will get sick if they take an improper amount of medicine or medicine that isn't meant for them. Be sure you always use the child safety caps and express the importance of having an adult supervise any child taking medicine.
Teach your children that some different medicines have the same active ingredients. Show them bottles at the store or in your medicine cabinet as a demonstration. Let them know that it’s important that they understand exactly what they are taking so they don't accidentally take too much of an active ingredient, which can cause more harm than good.
Students begin to self-medicate around 11 years old. They need to have the information and knowledge to make safe choices. If you encounter questions about medicine safety contact your doctor, pharmacist or health insurance provider for additional information.
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