Every year in Quebec, over 20,000 children under the age of five receive medical care after having ingested hazardous substances. In 45% of cases, the poisonings were attributed to the ingestion of prescribed medications and over the counter drugs. No matter if you are parents, grandparents or have friends who often visit with their young family, medication poisoning concerns you. Impervious to danger, little children can very easily intoxicate themselves by taking medication they might have mistaken for candy. You must be extra vigilant in order to avoid these awfully regrettable and potentially fatal accidents.
Many types of medications or vitamins can trigger very serious neurological, respiratory or cardiovascular symptoms in a child. Due to their great toxicity levels, cosmetics and household cleaning products, the cause of nearly a quarter of all accidental intoxications, must also be safely kept out of reach.
Therefore, all medications should be kept in a cupboard not accessible to children. Although most medications offer additional protection, child-proof caps are not infallible: it is better to be safe and keep medications out of their reach. In addition, never take medication in front of a child as he or she might tend to want to imitate you. Also, you should never let children play with empty packaging.
While on the subject, you should always return all out-of-date medications to your pharmacist, so they can be disposed of in a safe and secure manner. Flushing old pills down the toilet or down the drain, only contributes to polluting our water systems and can harm the environment. Furthermore, always keep your medications in their original packaging. If a medication is accidentally ingested, it will be much easier for you and healthcare professionals to identify with certainty the product the child has ingested, which in turn will ensure adequate medical treatment.