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Child Proof Medicine Bottles Are Not Childproof

March 21
10:29 2018

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CBS This Morning recently aired a segment on the increasing number of children that are getting into parents’ medications, swallowing them and ending up in the emergency room. Probably the most eye-opening part of the report was when they sat 11 toddlers, ranging in age from 3 to 5, around a table and gave them all an empty prescription bottle with a childproof cap and asked them to open the bottle. Within a few seconds, many of those toddlers had the lids off of the bottles.

The purpose of the demonstration was to show that just relying on childproof lids is not safe and does little to stop many kids from accessing deadly drugs which they view as pretty candy. They stated that around 57,000 children, under the age of 6, are taken to the emergency room every year for taking prescription pills, over the counter medicines and even vitamins.

In 50% of these cases, approximately 28,500 cases, the kids used a chair, toy or other object to climb on to access the medicine cabinet or where the pills were kept. Every 9 minutes, worldwide, a child under the age of 6 is rushed to the emergency room for swallowing medicine. Every hour, a child is hospitalized due to swallowing medicines and every 12 days, a child dies.

When my sister was still a preschooler, my mom was shocked one day when she went into the kitchen and found my little sister, sitting on top of the refrigerator eating a cookie. She had pushed a kitchen chair against the cabinet next to the fridge, climbed up on the counter, then stacked canisters against the fridge, climbed up on top of the fridge to get to the cookie canister on top.

I recall hearing one pediatrician comment that human children are like bear cubs. When they are young, they can climb nearly anything, but as they get older, climbing becomes harder and harder.

One mom on the segment talked about how it only took a moment for her 2-year-old son to get into some medication in the bathroom, high on a shelf in what looked like a type of closet. The medicine bottle, equipped with a childproof lid, was in a plastic storage bin with handles on each end that locked into place. They rushed him to the local hospital and by the time they got there, the boy was vomiting and went into seizures. Fortunately, the boy recovered, but it changed how this mom stores her medicines in her house. This family now keeps all of their medications in a medical lock box that requires a key to open. You can see what the family used by watching the video linked here.

The lesson is that child proof lids are NOT child proof. If you look and learn, you will find that they are not called child proof but child resistant. However, just like many watches labeled water resistant end up with water insider, child resistant lids are seldom child resistant.

In fact, these lids are more senior citizen resistant than they are child resistant. Many seniors have arthritis or other physical conditions or have just lost their grip strength, making opening these kinds of lid very difficult and sometimes, impossible.

If you have kids in your house, regardless of their age, you may want to invest a few dollars in a locking medical box to help keep your medicines, including over the counter, vitamins and supplements, out of the hands of your kids and your kids out of the emergency room.

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HLA Staff

HLA Staff

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