Why is medication storage important?
Medication is the leading cause of poisoning among children, with approximately 60,000 children being treated for accidental ingestion every year. More than 500,000 children under the age of five experience a potential medication related poisoning every year. These situations are preventable by adopting the following guidelines as standard practices in your home.
Store medication out of reach and out of sight
Children often mistake medication for candy and may try it out of curiosity. Store all medications in a place where children can’t see it and won’t be able to reach it.
Put medication away after each use
Never leave medication on the counter or on a nightstand, even if it needs to be administered frequently.
Use child safety caps
Always lock the safety cap on a medicine bottle after use. Despite being locked some children may still be able to open a bottle, so put it up and away to store until it is needed again.
Keep a medication inventory
Keeping track of which medications you have on hand, and how much, will help you determine if someone else has accessed them. Misuse can be accidental or deliberate, and having a inventory will help you establish exactly how much is missing or may have been ingested.
Utilize a medication lockbox
Locking up your medication will prevent anyone else from accessing it. Lockboxes are a great option for those with children, teens, shared living situations, or frequent outside visitors.
Speak to family and guests about medication safety
Ask your family members, caregivers, and guests to keep medications safely stored, out of sight, and out of reach while visiting. Teach your children what medication is and why it is important that only adults handle and dispense it.
Have the poison help number ready: 1-800-222-1222
Save the number for the Maryland Poison Center to your phone and post it where it can be clearly seen by caregivers. The professionals and specialists at the poison center can provide free, confidential advice in the case of a poisoning emergency.
Dispose of leftover or unwanted medication
Keeping unnecessary medication in your home is a safety hazard. Properly dispose of expired, leftover, or unwanted medication. Click here to learn how.
CDC: Protect Your Children: Store & Use Medicines Safely
Medline Plus: Storing your medicines