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Medications and Mistletoe

At Dayton Children’s, it takes a team to care for our special patients – and to keep them safe.  Recently, Reverend Cecelia Sledge, our  chaplain, asked me to share some tips with parents and grandparents about the importance of keeping medications away from children.

Cecelia must have one of the hardest jobs in the world – to comfort parents in the time of loss. And she is working hard to minimize loss by sharing some of her insights with me.

Recently, she has seen multiple accidental overdoses by children who got into their parents’ or grandparents’ prescription medications.

It’s a great time of year to guard against accidental poisonings – not only because the holidays bring the chance for more potential poisonings but it’s also a time to give gifts that could keep kids safe!

How can we keep kids safe from medications, mistletoe and other holiday poisons?

  • Keep ornamental plants such as holly, mistletoe, and Jerusalem cherry out of the reach of children. They can be poisonous if swallowed.
  • Make sure alcoholic drinks are cleaned up and out of reach during and after a party. Poisoning can occur when children drink leftover cocktails after parties and even small amounts can be dangerous to children.
  • Remember specialty baking products such as extracts can contain alcohol and other harmful substances.
  • Cigarettes and cigars contain enough nicotine to be dangerous to children. Keep all ashtrays out of reach of children and empty them at the end of the evening. Better yet, ask smokers to light up outside of the house or not at all around children.
  • Be sure any medication a visitor is bringing into your home has child-resistant caps and is kept out of reach of children. This may mean removing medications from a suitcase and locking them up high in a medicine cabinet. Also be sure any medication you have in your own home is stored safely.

And can’t think of a gift for someone special?  Consider purchasing a locked medication box.  Together everyone can know the gift will keep children safe for many holidays to come!

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We have created this blog as a way to communicate key childrens' health and safety issues to parents and other child advocates. It is managed by Dayton Children's department of marketing communications. Comments can be sent to rodneyg@childrensdayton.org.

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