Kick Off Summer Vacation With Five Simple Tips to Safely Store Medicines While Traveling
With summer here and vacation season underway, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) Educational Foundation, in partnership with the PROTECT Initiative, today released five medicine safety tips for families traveling with young children. According to a recent travel report, more than three in five US adults (64 percent), or an estimated 154 million Americans, plan to go on at least one vacation over the next several months.
The percentage of Americans planning to travel between May and October 2012 is up from 64 percent last April, and 56 percent in April 2010. As a result, the CDC and CHPA Educational Foundation are providing parents and caregivers with a few simple tips to protect children during the busy summer as a part of the Up and Away and Out of Sight educational program.
"Thousands of young children end up in emergency departments every year after getting into medicine while their parents or caregivers are not looking," said Dan Budnitz, MD, MPH, director of CDC's Medication Safety Program. "Accidental ingestions don't take a vacation, so it's important for parents to keep medicines and vitamins up and away and out of sight at home, and also when families are away from their homes and staying in hotels or as guests in other's homes."
Tips for safely storing medicines and vitamins on-the-go, include:
When packing for a trip, keep your medicines in their original child-resistant containers. Other containers, such as pill organizers and baggies, often lack child safety features and can be easily accessed by young children.
While staying in a hotel, secure your medicines and vitamins in a location that your children cannot see or reach, such as a high cabinet or passcode-protected hotel room safe.
As a guest in another person's home, do not be shy about asking where you should put your medicines and vitamins so they are up and away and out of the sight and reach of children.
Remember to never leave medicines or vitamins out on a table, countertop, or bedside table where your children could reach them no matter where you are – always make sure the safety caps are locked and put them away every time they are used.
Program the national Poison Help number – 1.800.222.1222 – along with other emergency contact numbers into your cell phone, so that they are available in case of an emergency.
"Planning and packing for family vacations can be hectic and stressful, and making sure your medicines are safely stored isn't always top of mind," said Emily Skor, vice president of Communications & Alliance Development at CHPA. "These five easy tips are designed to help parents and caregivers enjoy worry-free vacations by keeping their children safe from accidental ingestions."
In recent years, the number of accidental medication overdoses in young children has increased by 20 percent. The Up and Away and Out of Sight educational program aims to reduce unintentional medication overdoses in children by: reminding parents and caregivers to store medicines safely; providing them with information and tools to keep their child/children safe; and encouraging them to take action.