To grandmother's house we go: The hazards of a grandparent's home

(BPT) - It is no secret that grandparents play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren. From giving encouragement and life advice, to helping out as a caretaker, many turn to their grandparents for support. In fact, 72 percent of grandparents take care of their grandchildren on a regular basis, and 70 percent of them see their grandchildren at least once a week, according to the American Grandparents Association.

With an abundance of grandparents overseeing their grandchildren on an ongoing basis, it is particularly important they are aware of the dangers that lie within their household that may be harmful to children. One of the most common dangers includes leaving out medication that is easy to access. In fact, in three out of four emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the child got into medicine belonging to a parent or grandparent, according to Safe Kids World Wide, a global organization dedicated to preventing unintentional injuries in children.

Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, a family physician in Lexington, Kentucky, and coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years, encourages conversation, awareness and education-surrounding children's home safety. McAllister says that each year in the U.S., thousands of children are seen in emergency departments for accidental medication exposures, which can be fatal. The typical scenario involves a curious child finding and ingesting unsecured medication.

"In almost 40 percent of cases, the medication belonged to a grandparent, and the medication was left in a purse or bag, a pillbox, or on a counter or nightstand," says McAllister. "It only takes a moment for children to find and swallow medication that can put their lives in danger. Parents and grandparents can protect the lives of the children they love by ensuring that all prescription and over-the-counter medicines in their homes are stored safely and securely."

Families, and grandparents specifically, should consider the following steps to ensure their medications are not available to their grandchildren:

* Keep medication up high and out of sight of children. The orange bottle medications usually come in is bright and appealing to children. To them it may look like a toy that makes noise when shaken, or a fun game with pieces that can easily go straight into their mouth.

* Be absolutely sure the bottle is closed and secure with the safety lock. With a regular schedule of taking meds, it may be tempting for seniors to leave bottle tops loose for easy access each time the medicine needs to be taken.

* Lock up your medication in a designated spot. Med-Master offers a variety of durable, flexible medication storage solutions that feature locking options including a 3-digit combination lock, or a wireless battery operated RFID lock, to maximize security. In addition to being a locking storage unit, once opened, options include a pill-sorting tray for organization, a magnifying glass with LED light for easy label reading, as well as a magnetic dry erase kit for important reminders and notes.

For more information, visit www.mmfind.com/med-master.


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