Medicines and chemicals: use and "keep out of reach of children"

Precaution is better than cure ~ Edward Coke
I didn’t want to write about medicines and chemicals/poisons just yet, but my coworker narrated something that happened to her a couple of days ago, so I figured i'd just do it now.

I hope you pardon my numerous stories. These are true stories based on my real life experiences or the experiences of people I know. These stories of babies and children safety overtime inspired the creation of this blog, and I hope that we can begin to discuss how we manage these safety issues in our challenging environment. 

Now back to my story: My coworker left her kids (a 2-year old girl and 2-month old
baby boy in his rocker) for a moment in the living room to ‘quickly’ go grab something from the bedroom. Then she heard the little boy coughing and rushed downstairs to check on him; on getting to him, she saw he was struggling to swallow something, and was blinking his eyes rapidly. She tried to check what he had in his mouth when she turned and saw her 2 year old with some tablets in her hands. Apparently, she had gotten the drugs from the refrigerator and tried to give her little brother just like she had seen her mum do all the time. Poor darling thought she was helping her mum give her brother his medication. Fortunately, she was able to have him checked and all was fine. 
What bothered my coworker was that she hadn't paid much attention to the fact that her 2 year old had grown tall enough to open the refrigerator and reach out to take the drugs.

First thing to highlight here is storing of drugs or medication: It is really important to follow the instruction on the medicine bottle or pack that says – 

"KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN" -or "keep out of the sight and reach of children". 

Before I go on, I’ll throw in one for adults: 

  • Always adhere to the storage instructions on the medicine pack. Medicines are sensitive to environmental conditions and temperature. When stored for long under those non-conducive conditions, their chemical compositions may change, e.g aspirin, or they may degrade and lose their effectiveness. I know someone who used to keep her medicines on top of a microwave until I brought her attention to it. So try as much as possible to read fine prints for proper storage. 
  • Also, it will be good to look through your medicine cabinet or storage every six months to get rid of expired or 'funny' looking drugs. I was casually looking through my medicine cabinet recently and was amazed at the number or expired drugs there (don’t judge me. Lol).

OK. So let's go on:
We have numerous chemicals and solutions we may store in our homes as cleaning agents, home disinfectants, for pest control etc. We also have medications that we may need from time to time that need to be stored properly.

  • Medications are better stored in top shelves/cabinets, way out of reach of children, and from heat/humidity. For the ones that go in the fridge, try to keep them high up in the refrigerator or locked up in those plastic bowls that are a bit tough for kids to open, if your refrigerator is not high.
  • It is advisable to dedicate one cabinet/cupboard/drawer that will be kept under lock at all times for the purpose of storing chemicals and solutions.  So things like aerosol sprays, bottles of insecticide, detergent, cleaning/washing up liquids and agents, disinfectants etc. can be locked in there. Use cabinet or cupboard latches/locks to keep them locked or just get a carpenter to fix one. 
  • If your cabinets have side by side knobs or handles, you can use rubber bands to hold them together; just make sure the rubber bands are new and strong. But you have to change them occasionally as they may become weak from being constantly stretched. Some people might prefer using ropes, but that may be a little difficult if you frequently need access to the cabinets. 

See a sample of what I did with mine below: I used few rubber bands just to show an example of how to put them over the handles. I also got other pictures to show more samples. 

This is what I did with my cabinet

These are other samples I found

I know some kids love to test their limits and might learn to remove them, but at least not before they are able to understand what is off limits for them. 

It might be easy to get away with a few things if you have just one child, since you can keep an eye on them. It becomes a different ball game when you have more than one child crawling or running around. Like Edward Coke says: "Prevention is better than cure", so keep out of reach of children. 

Do you have any stories or tips you would like to share with us? Please leave your comments.

The Baby Analyst.

Not a doctor, just a financial analyst who loves kids


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