Every year, more than 59,000 young children are seen in emergency rooms because they got into medicine while a caregiver wasn’t looking – the equivalent of four busloads of kids every day. Most families believe they are being careful about storing medicine away from children; however, our national survey of 2,000 parents revealed a surprising gap between parents’ knowledge of what they should do to protect kids from accidental medicine poisoning and what they are actually doing. We found that 9 in 10 parents agree it is important to store all medicine up high and out of reach after every use, but nearly 7 in 10 told us that they often store medicine within a child’s sight - on a shelf or surface at or above counter height.
Parents are often choosing convenience over caution by storing medicine in a handy and visible location for easy access or as a memory aid. We found that 4 in 10 parents agreed that it is okay to keep daily medicine on the kitchen counter or in another visible location so it is handy. Our survey also said that nearly 5 in 10 parents agreed that when a child is sick, it is okay to keep medicine handy and visible between doses. These findings are alarming, and supports the need for more medication safety education and outreach efforts.