Keep medicines out of small hands this summer – NPS MedicineWise warning
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals have been asked to help spread the word to families with young children, who may be travelling and visiting friends and relatives over the summer school holiday period, about the importance of keeping medicines safely out of reach of children.
A recent survey conducted by NPS MedicineWise found that half of all Australian households are likely to have insecurely stored medication, with “hot spots” being bedside tables (18 per cent of homes) shelved in kitchens and living rooms (18 per cent) or in the fridge (14 per cent)
Particular attention should also be paid to medications which may be stored in the handbags or backpacks of family or friends, when these are left in a place which is accessible to children.
“It’s important to always keep medicine in a safe place,” said Dr Jill Thistlethwaite, NPS MedicineWise Medical Adviser and GP. Safe places are defined as those which are at least 1.5 metres from the ground, out of sight and reach of children.
Dr Thistlewaite reminded families that, when out and about, they should always pay attention to where they place their handbags or backpacks if they are carrying medication.
“Children are naturally curious and can easily swallow medicine left within their reach. Medicine not meant for them, possibly taken in multiple doses, can have frightening effects on their little bodies.” Dr Thistlewaite cautioned.
ECEC services were asked to remind parents to act quickly and contact a healthcare professional, or the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 if medicine is accidentally ingested.
Information on prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines (herbal, ‘natural’, vitamins and minerals) can be obtained by calling the NPS Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) Monday–Friday 9am–5pm AEST (excluding public holidays).