Safety Check: Put Your Medicines Up and Away and Out of Sight

Families take medications and vitamins to feel well and to stay well. But did you know that more than 60,000 young children end up in emergency rooms every year because they get into medicines when their parent or caregiver isn’t looking?

Any kind of medicine and vitamin – even one you buy without a prescription – can cause harm if taken in the wrong way or by the wrong person. All medicines and vitamins should always be kept up and away and out of your child’s reach and sight.

Protect your child. Here’s how:

  • Put medicines and vitamins up and away – out of reach and out of sight.

Children are curious and put all sorts of things in their mouths. Even if you turn your back for less than a minute, they can quickly get into things that could hurt them.

Pick a storage place in your home that your child cannot reach or see. Different families will have different places. Walk around your house and decide on the safest place to keep your medicines and vitamins.

  • Put medicines and vitamins away every time.

This includes medicines and vitamins you use every day. Never leave them out on a kitchen counter or at a sick child’s bedside, even if you have to give the medicine again in a few hours.

  • Hear the click to make sure the safety cap is locked.

Always relock the cap on a medicine bottle. If the bottle has a locking cap that turns, twist it until you hear the click. Remember, even though many medicines have safety caps, children may be able to open them. Every medicine and vitamin must be stored up and away and out of children’s reach and sight.

  • Teach your children about medicine safety.

Teach your children what medicine is and why you must be the one to give it to them. Never tell children medicine is candy to get them to take it, even if your child doesn’t like to take his or her medicine.

  • Tell your guests about medicine safety.

Ask houseguests and visitors to keep purses, bags, or coats that have medicine in them up and away and out of sight when they are in your home.

  • Be prepared in case of an emergency.

Call your poison control center at 800.222.1222 right away if you think your child might have gotten into a medicine or vitamin.

Program the Poison Control number into your home and cell phones so you will have it when you need it.

Text adapted from CDC’s Medication Storage and Medicine Safety websites. Learn more at

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Lissa Staley

Lissa Staley helps people use the library. She is a Book Evangelist, Health Information Librarian, Trivia Emcee, Classics Made Modern book group leader, NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison, Community Novel Project leader, HUSH podcaster, and frequent library customer. She reads a new book every few days, but recently enjoyed Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley.