TOLEDO, Ohio — Accidental poisonings are one of the leading causes of trips to the ER and ICU each year, according to the CDC. Half of those come from prescription and over-the-counter medications, and many times, it's children who are victims.
As any parent knows, little hands are guided by curious eyes, so it’s vital to poison-proof your home, especially when it comes to prescription pills or medicine.
"For kids, that looks like candy, they look like smarties, they look like M&M's, and you never want to tell a kid 'hey, here's your medication, it's just like candy.' because that's really hard for them to discern when they're little," said Pharmacist Ginger Berrie.
That’s bad news when you consider curious kids could likely be getting ahold of a full-size dose of a medication that was intended for an adult.
Berrie has some advice.
“To protect your young ones, the best thing to do is put them in a cabinet up and away where they can't be seen, such as that little cupboard above your refrigerator,” she said.
If you're in a home where children are only around part-time - perhaps as a grandparent who's watching grandkids - don’t keep pills on your nightstand. Instead, put a note there, reminding you to go take medicine.
The CDC also recommends you get rid of any prescriptions you no longer need.
While most medications expire many years later, you don't know for sure how effective they'll be, so the dosage could be wrong.
Many police stations and fire departments throughout the county have drop off locations. Some of them are open 24hours a day, 7 days a week, and all Mercy Health hospitals have disposal locations as well.
If you think your loved one may have gotten ahold of medication they shouldn't have, you should be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary like excessive sleepiness or thirst.
If that happens - just remain calm and seek medical attention.
50,000 kids end up in the ER each year due to medication poisonings, so doctors suggest you keep the poison control number handy - 1-800-222-1222.
It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.