Prescription drugs can be deadly if they fall into the wrong hands. Students report they easily take them from their parents cabinets, or get them from their friends. "From students we've talked with,
Prescription drugs can be deadly if they fall into the wrong hands. Students say they have easy access at home, taking them from parents' cabinets or getting them from friends -- and it's starting as young as seventh grade.
More than 150 children are rushed to emergency rooms every day due to accidental exposure to medications and even overdoses. America Now's Leeza Gibbons recently met with Kate Carr, president of Safe Kids Worldwide, and she had some good advice on keeping dangerous meds away from children.
"They're a real risk and one of the growing risks here in the United States," says Carr. "Think about it; there are more medicines that are available today then ever before and a lot more multi-generational households where grandparents are living with mom, dad, and kids. So, medication boxes, they're really convenient for people who have to remember what day and what time [to take] medication. They're a really important tool."
But, Leeza notes, they also flip open easily and they're likely sitting on your bathroom counter or kitchen counter.
"You want to have that medication handy; you want to make sure you check. But having one on the kitchen counter is a real risk if you have a curious child around who wants to mimic whatever you're doing," says Carr. "So it's very important around children to put these up and away."
Another thing to be aware of is that, to many kids, some pills can look like candy.
"They are confusing. And if you're two or three years old, you are certainly seeing someone take medicine and it might look attractive to you because this is something that is either a vitamin or a pill and this is a candy," Carr explains.
Even as an adult, if you don't have your glasses on, you could make that mistake.
If a kid does happen to get into something that he or she is not supposed to be taking, there are a few steps parents can take.
"What you want to do if that child is in a really severe hazard, they're choking, they can't breathe, they're unconscious, you dial 911. But if they're okay and you have a question, you call the poison control center," says Carr.
She adds that it's a good number to plug into your cell phones or keep close to the home phone: 1.800.222.1222. Acting swiftly could mean the difference between life and death.