A sniffle, sneeze, cough… it’s that time of year again! With cooler temperatures in the forecast, cold and flu season is inevitably upon us. While there is no cure for the common cold, there are actions you can take to lessen your child’s chance of becoming ill.
If the bug does make its way into your home, you may find symptom relief in various types of cold medicine, but there are safety measures you should take to ensure your medications are stored properly when and when not being used.
Tips on Preventing Illness
Aside from receiving CDC-recommended immunizations like the flu vaccine, you can lower your child’s likelihood of getting sick by disinfecting areas that are frequent points of contact, including:
- Doorknobs and handles
- Coffee tables and kitchen tables
- Toys and other baby items, such as car seats, strollers, etc.
You should also be sure you and all members of your family maintain proper hygiene. 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 own hands should be instructed to do so before meals, as well as after going to the bathroom, sneezing, playing with a pet, or when arriving home from a daycare facility.
Storing Medications Safely
If your child does catch a cold or the flu, medications may help alleviate certain discomforts that come with feeling unwell; however, improper dosing and failure to keep medications out of reach can cause serious, if not fatal outcomes for young children.
In the United States, more than 60,000 young children end up in the emergency department each year as a result of getting into medicine that was left within reach. To prevent this from happening in your home, you should make sure safety caps on all medication bottles are locked. If a bottle has a locking cap that twists shut, always be sure you hear it “click” when closing the cap.
Recently, cold medicine and other pharmaceutical companies have been packaging their products in blister packs that individually seal medications in plastic and require one to break through a foil and cardboard barrier to access. Though these types of OTC medications involve an additional step to open, they can still pose a risk to young children and should be stored out of reach and out of sight.
In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of every 151 two-year-old children admitted to the emergency room, at least one is treated for an unintentional medication overdose, most often occurring when the child is left unsupervised.
In addition to oral medications, parents with children between the ages of 0 and 5 should be sure to 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 have yet to be packaged in child-resistant containers; therefore, placing them far from your kid’s reach is the only way to ensure these items don’t end up in the wrong hands.
Child-Resistant Packaging to Prevent Poisoning in Children
To prevent potentially harmful substances from falling into the wrong hands, more companies are packaging their products using child-resistant technology. The Child-Guard® closure helps to 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 3-step “point, press and pull” opening process.
Among Child-Guard®’s many potential uses is the opportunity to apply the child-resistant slider to flexible pouches containing medication in blister packs.
You may be familiar with this type of packaging, as it’s currently found on many popular products in the laundry aisle of your grocery store and will soon be making its way to additional items in the future.
To aid in the initiative to make more products child-resistant and reduce the number of accidental poisonings in children under 5, we encourage you to visit our Facebook page and let us know what household products you want to see with child-resistant packaging, using the hashtag #guardit.