KNOXVILLE (WATE) – From Halloween last month to the holidays coming up, there’s a good chance you have candy in the house and little hands are tempted to sneak it without you knowing. A lot of prescription medications look like candy.
David and Mia Fulcher have two little ones: Elsie, 3, and Kinsley, 1.
“Things get higher and higher (as the children get bigger). It changes everything,” said David Fulcher.
That includes where they keep their prescription drugs.
“We’ve got a really high cabinet in the bathroom. We have to reach for it,” said David Fulcher.
Parents, like the Fulchers, are finding out kids will go to great lengths to get what they want and because prescription medications are small and look like candy to a child, leaving them out, like on the counter, can be dangerous.
“They look exactly alike, so it’s very, very easy for a child to think it’s candy, if they’re used to eating that candy,” said Rob Webb, a paramedic with Priority Ambulance.
He has seen his share of accidental prescription drug overdoses.
“Actually it happens more than you think,” said Webb.
Close to 60,000 kids are taken to emergency rooms each year because they found and swallowed medicines that weren’t properly stored. Research shows almost all of the poisonings happen at home, either in the kitchen, bathroom or bedroom.
“One of the best places is the highest cabinet that you have, which is this one in the kitchen. Keeping it up high, it’s even difficult for me to reach,” said Webb.
Webb has a couple of kids himself and while he keeps his medications up high, he also keeps them in a lockbox.
“Probably the most important thing we do in my home is we taught the children early to leave the medication alone and then never give a pill bottle for them to play with that’s empty, anything like that, that could confuse the kids. Meds are off limits,” said Webb.
Another way to reduce the risk of kids getting into your medications is to get rid of the ones you no longer need, use or have expired. However, do not flush them down your toilet. You’re encouraged to drop them off at a “drug take-back” event. They’re held several times a year and it’s free.
The Fulchers are doing it right because they know little kids love putting things in their mouth.
“It could be a battery, it could be a pill, it could be anything. It’s in the mouth, don’t matter if it looks like a bug, they’ll still put it in their mouth,” said David Fulcher.
Webb suggested, if you suspect your child has taken one or more of your pills, to immediately call poison control and they can tell you what to do and that could be calling 911 next. He said to do that first, because depending on the medication, you might not see any negative signs in the child right away.