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Did you know that nearly 50,000 children under age 6 are seen in emergency rooms for medication-related poisonings each year? Children under age 6 are most at risk for poisoning because they are
very curious and put all sorts of things in their mouths.

Medicines can be very tempting to children since pills, and gel caps often look and taste like candy. Children also like to imitate adults, so if they see you taking medicine, they may want to take it too. Even if you turn your back for less than a minute, they can quickly get into things that can hurt them. Follow these tips to keep children safe:

  • Read and follow the medicine label to make sure you are giving the right medicine, in the right amount, at the right time.
  • Know the child’s current weight. The most accurate dose is based on weight, not age.
  • Use the dosing device that comes with a liquid medicine. If the medicine does not come with a dosing device, ask the pharmacist for one that should be used.
  • Write clear instructions for caregivers. All caregivers need to know what medicine to give, how much and when to give it.
  • Teach children that medicine should always be given by a trusted adult.
  • Don’t refer to medicine as “candy.” This may encourage children to take medicine on their own.
  • Avoid taking medicine in front of children. They like to imitate adults and may follow your example.
  • Keep all medicines out of children’s reach and sight, even medicine that is taken daily. Remember that “child-resistant” packaging is not “child-proof.”

Call the 24-Hour Poison Help Line for Additional Support:


Medicine Safety for Children

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