As a parent, you do everything you can to keep your children safe throughout their lives. You cover electrical outlets when they start to crawl. You give them bicycle helmets when they learn to ride. You talk about what to do if a stranger approaches them in public. You do these things not because you believe something will happen, but because if anything goes wrong they are much less likely to be seriously hurt.
The same goes for something most of us have in our homes: over-the-counter and prescription medications. Medications can be helpful when used according to the directions on the label, but they can become deadly if someone takes too much—on purpose or by accident—or uses a medication prescribed for someone else.
The risks to children under 5
More children are brought to the emergency room each year for potential medication poisoning than for car accidents. Most of them took medication when their caregiver wasn’t looking.
The risks to preteens and adolescents
Medication overdoses—of both over-the-counter and prescription medications—are the most common method of attempting suicide and the third most common cause of suicide death.
Download our guide to get simple steps you can take to protect your children from serious harm.