CDC, CHPA partner on medicine safety education initiative

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association Educational Foundation on Tuesday launched the Up and Away and Out of Sight educational program to help educate parents on the importance of keeping their medicines in a safe place from children. In recent years, the number of accidental overdoses in children increased by 20%, the agency and association stated.

“We know that, unfortunately, many children have to visit the emergency room because of accidental medication exposures,” stated Dan Budnitz, director of CDC’s Medication Safety Program in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. “To help combat these preventable harms, the Up and Away and Out of Sight program gives parents and caregivers the information they need to store medicine safely and protect children.”

This campaign asks consumers to remind relatives, houseguests, babysitters and other visitors to keep purses, bags and coats that may have medicines or vitamins in them up and away and out of sight of children.

Safety tips for parents and caregivers include:

  • Never leave medicine or vitamins out on a kitchen counter or at a sick child’s bedside, even if you have to give another dose in a few hours;

  • Always relock the safety cap on a medicine bottle. If it has a locking cap that turns, twist it until you hear the click;

  • Explain to children what medicine is and why you must be the one to give it to them;

  • Never tell children that medication or vitamins are candy, even if your child does not like to take his or her medicine; and

  • Program the poison control center number — 1-800-222-1222 — into home and cell phones so that the number is easily available in case of an emergency.

“Young children are curious, and they can quickly get into medicines or vitamins when parents and caregivers aren’t looking,” said Emily Skor, VP communications and alliance development at CHPA. “Parents work hard to protect their children, and this program reminds them to keep medicines and vitamins up and away and out of sight of children.”

Up and Away and Out of Sight is supported by members of the PROTECT Initiative, which include the CDC, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, professional organizations, industry partners and academic representatives. The program includes a website, multimedia content and downloadable materials for parents and caregivers.

For more information on Up and Away and Out of Sight, go to UpandAway.org.


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