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Keep Kids Safe from Accidental Poisoning this Flu Season

It’s easy for curious kids to get into the meds during flu season. Here’s how to keep them safe.

It’s that time of year when coughs, colds, and the flu are circulating. But parents have more to worry about than a case of the sniffles. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 60,000 young children end up in emergency rooms each year because they accidentally got into medicines that were left within their reach. It’s all too easy for parents who are busy wiping noses, taking temperatures, and caring for their kids to forget to put medicines up and away between doses.

But even sick kids can be curious. Keep your medicines and vitamins out of children’s sight and reach to prevent a frantic call to Poison Control or a trip to the emergency room.

Here are four important steps to keeping your family safe this cold and flu season:

  1. Teach your children about medicine: Teaching children about medicine is an important first step in making sure they know it is not a toy or candy. Tell children what medicine is and how it helps them feel better, but only when given by a parent or caregiver. And remind children that different people take different medicines — their siblings’ meds are not for them.
  2. Use safe medicine dosing practices: Always follow the dosing instructions on the package and be sure to only use the dosing device that comes with the medicine.
  3. Store all medicines up and away: Keeping medicine within easy reach for parents too often means it’s also within easy reach for children. Even between doses, store medicines up and away in a safe location that is too high for young children to reach or see.
  4. Keep the Poison Help line number handy: 1-800-222-1222. Save this important number, so you’re always prepared. Make sure that babysitters, older children, and frequent family visitors have the number too, in case there’s an emergency when they’re in charge.

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