Over-the-counter drug safety tips

FOX 13 file image

It’s National Health Education Week and one organization wants to stress to parents the importance of self-use, storage, and disposal of over-the-counter medicines.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) is celebrating the week by joining with children’s publisher Scholastic to help educate tweens on the safe use of these medicines with a national OTC Medicine Safety education program.  

“In 2014, poison centers managed over 1.3 million exposure cases involving children and teens, and over half of these cases involved pharmaceuticals.  We believe that developing a healthy respect for medication safety as a tween may decrease the chance of errors and perhaps even pharmaceutical abuse later,” said Stephen T. Kaminski, JD, AAPCC CEO and executive director.

Parents play a critical role in helping their tweens learn about the responsible use of OTC medicines. Every year approximately 10,000 kids under age 18 visit emergency departments due to errors from self-administering OTC medications. It is important for parents and guardians to discuss the safe use and storage of OTC medicines with their tweens.

Below are tips from the OTC Medicine Safety program that are helpful as parents discuss self-administration, safe use, and storage of OTC medicines with their kids:

  1. Be sure to read & follow the medicine label every time
  2. Be sure never to share your medicine with someone else or use someone else's medicine
  3. Remember to always use the dosing device that comes with the medicine
  4. Take only one medicine at a time with the same active ingredient
  5. Store all medicines up & away and out of reach and sight
  6. Be sure to only take medicines with the permission and guidance from a parent or trusted adult.