A sniffle, sneeze, cough … you’re anticipating cold and flu season! While there is no cure for the common cold, there are actions you can take to lessen your child’s chances of becoming sick.
If the bug does make its way into your home, there are ways to help avoid the flu when your family has it. Additionally, you may find symptom relief in various types of cold medicine. There are safety measures you should take to ensure your medications are stored properly.
Flu Prevention Tips
Aside from receiving CDC-recommended immunizations like the flu vaccine, lower your child’s likelihood of getting sick by disinfecting areas that are frequent points of contact, including:
- Doorknobs and handles
- Coffee tables and dining tables
- Kitchen chairs and highchairs
- Toys and other baby items such as car seats and strollers
All family members should also maintain proper hygiene, especially in preventing influenza. Because babies stick their fingers in their mouths frequently, their hands should routinely be sanitized with wipes or soap and water throughout the day. Children old enough to wash their hands should be instructed to do so before meals, as well as after using the bathroom, sneezing, playing with a pet, or arriving home from daycare or school.
Safely Storing Medications
If your child does catch a cold or the flu, medications may help alleviate certain discomforts that come with symptoms. However, improper dosing and failure to keep medications out of reach can cause serious and even fatal outcomes for young children.
In the United States, approximately 50,000 young children end up in the emergency room each year as a result of ingesting medicine that was left within reach. To prevent this in your home, make sure safety caps on all medication bottles are locked. If a bottle has a locking cap that twists shut, be sure to hear it “click” when closing the cap.
Cold medicine and other pharmaceutical companies package their products in blister packs that individually seal medications in plastic and must break through a foil and cardboard barrier to access. Though these types of over-the-counter medications involve an additional step to open, they can still pose a risk to young children and should be stored out of their reach and sight.
According to the CDC, one of every 150 two-year-old children admitted to the emergency room are treated for an unintentional medication overdose, most often occurring with unsupervised children.
In addition to oral medications, parents with children under the age of five should safely store the following products out of reach:
- Eye drops
- Ointments, such as diaper rash cream
- Topical creams and bath products
Many of these products are not yet packaged in child-resistant containers. Therefore, we should especially place them far from kids’ reach to ensure such products don’t end up in the wrong hands.
Prevent Poison with Child-Resistant Packaging
To prevent potentially harmful substances from falling into young hands, more companies are packaging their products using child-resistant technology. The Child-Guard® closure helps protect young children from obtaining access to substances like medications and household chemicals that may be harmful if consumed. When fastened, the slider locks into place and requires a three-step “point, press, and pull” opening process.
To aid in the initiative to make more product packaging child-resistant and reduce the number of accidental poisonings in children under five, visit our Facebook page and let us know which household products you want to see with child-resistant packaging.
This article was originally published on 11/21/2016 but updated and republished on 10/10/2022.