Keeping our kids safe is always a parents number one priority. That is why we need to make sure we are storing medications safely and we are reading labels. Check out how we organize our medicine cabinet and some tips for keeping medication safely out of reach.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Influence Central as part of an Influencer Activation and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
It has been nearly 9 years since I became a mom for the first time. In those early years, I wasn’t thinking about the dangers that lie in our home. I was more concerned with how that baby boy was eating and sleeping, but as he started moving, those worries changed.
Our son was fast, but he listened well and actually stayed out of things when he was told no. I never even had to put up breakable items, because he would just leave those alone. Our daughter on the other hand was into EVERYTHING and is a climber. One time I went to the bathroom, I came out and she went from being on the floor, to on top of the refrigerator. I wish I was kidding, but nope, this little girl has a will and will find a way, which is why it became SO important for us to discuss medication safety with our children and take better precautions to keep them safe.
We have always been very clear about areas they kids are not allowed to touch, specifically the medicine cabinet. In addition, my husband and I always are honest about how the medications in our home can potentially harm our children if they take it without us being around. Right now they are little, but it is very simple to start early and let them know they are not allowed in your medicine cabinet and that medication is not candy.
We all have a cabinet in our home that looks similar to the one in the photo below. It is almost a necessity to have anything you will need for cuts, colds, tummy troubles and allergies. In our home, I keep our cabinet very organized, for a couple reasons. First, I know exactly what medications I have, which makes it very easy to see if something is out of place. Second, the organization makes it easy to locate the type of medication that we are looking for. Last, organizing the medication helps me stay up on expiration dates and dispose of and replace medication as needed.
Medication organization is super easy to do. Grab a few little baskets from your local dollar store. Then take all your medications out of your cabinet. From there, sort them by usage type. For example, all of your cold medicines go together. I have a basket for children’s medication, cold and cough, digestive health, preventative, essential oils, prescription, sun safety, pet meds and even first aid. As you are sorting through, check expiration dates and bag up any medications that are outdated to be disposed of (most local pharmacies will take these).
Medication Safety Tips
I would say that the one thing, that never crossed my mind as a parent was medication safety…until we had an incident. Our little girl, climbed on the counters, and got into a bottle of medication. She ate about 3 of the tabs before I found her. Obviously, she is ok, but that incident immediately made me jump into childproofing our medication. I have a few tips that to share with other parents, in hopes they will be proactive.
- Storage: Store your medications in a central location, out of reach of children. Our medication used to be in a lower cabinet. I moved it into the upper cabinets and we added child safety locks. Even if you have tiny babies that are not anywhere near being able to access your medication, childproof now, because once they start moving, this might not be on the forefront of your mind…it definitely wasn’t on ours.
- Safety Lids: Manufacturers make these lids for a reason. ANYTIME you use your medication, make sure the lids are put back on properly before storage. Also, on the bottles where the arrows have to align, make sure to twist those to opposite sides when storing, so they are not easy to just pop off for a child.
- Ingredients: We read labels for everything in our household. Why are we not taking the time to read the labels of our medications. Know what is in those medications and the effects of that on your body and your children’s. It takes about 2 minutes to pull that information up online and store it in your memory.
- Daily Medication: We have all seen them at grandma’s house or heck, maybe you even use them. I know we used to in our home. These daily medication reminder containers are great for keeping you on your schedule, but can be detrimental to a child. If this is a must in your home, then keep these in a safe location that is completely out of reach of your child. We did away with using them completely, I am just not willing to take that chance.
- Set Boundaries: After our daughters incident, we sat down and talked with both our children and set some very clear boundaries. Even a one year old understands no and time outs, and after enough of those, they will steer clear of that trouble typically. Our kids now know that the medication cabinet is off limits and that they are never to get into it without permission. I know that as they grow older, we will have to make some adjustments and I do worry that as experimental teenagers they will get into things just to test the waters, however, I will be there, to set boundaries, probably rearrange how we keep the medications some more and to make sure they know how medications affect them as well.
Speaking of Teenagers
As a highschool teacher, I am well versed on what kids are experimenting with. One of those chemicals is the active ingredient in diarrhea relief medications, loperamide. If this is taken in large doses, it mimics the effects of opioids. It has become such an issue that the FDA is asking for retailers to voluntarily stop carrying the large count loperamide products. It is important to note that loperamide is completely safe when used in recommended doses. If we are going to make sure that we are childproofing and creating safe environments for our children, we need to be aware of the potential for abuse of any OTC products and keep those locked up and out of reach.
This can absolutely be a challenge, especially with common medications that we are all used to having on hand. Like many OTC medications, loperamide does not directly address the underlying cause of the diarrhea, it is just a symptom reliever. It is up to us to make sure that we are being diligent with the OTC medications that we purchase and that we are protecting our kids. We can do this by creating awareness, becoming informed and childproofing our homes. Learn more about loperamide and how you can help create awareness by checking out this information from the FDA!
Together we really can make a difference!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, please consult your doctor for medical advice.