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'Tis the Season for Safe Medicine Storage
Date:12/11/2012

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Millions of Americans travel during the holidays, often to visit family and friends. During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is easy to overlook the importance of safely storing medicines and vitamins out of the sight and reach of young children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) Educational Foundation, in partnership with the PROTECT Initiative, are reminding Americans this holiday season about the importance of safe medicine storage at home and on-the-go, as part of the Up and Away and Out of Sight educational program.

Annually, more than 60,000 young children – or roughly four school busloads of children per day – age 5 or younger are treated in emergency departments (ED) for accidental ingestion of household medicines, according to Dan Budnitz, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC's Medication Safety Program. "Parents may not be aware of the danger posed by leaving medications where young children can reach or see them."

As much as parents need to be careful during the busy holiday season, it is also important for grandparents to be particularly cautious about safe medicine storage. In a recent national survey by University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, nearly one out of every four grandparents said they store prescription medicines in easy-access places, including daily-dose boxes that children can easily open; 18 percent said they store over-the-counter medicines in easily accessible spots.

"Grandparents love when their grandchildren come to visit, but they may not realize their next dose of medicine left out on the counter could be a source of harm for their curious, young grandchild," said Budnitz. "Whether traveling for the holidays, or hosting family members in the home, a few simple steps – followed every time – can keep children safe from harm."

Tips to help parents and grandparents safely store medicines and vitamins during the holidays include:

  • Keep all medicines and vitamins up and away and out of sight in a high cabinet or other place inaccessible to young children.
  • Keep purses, bags, or coats that have medicines or vitamins in them out of their reach and sight.
  • When hosting family members and friends, let the adults know where they can safely store their medicines and vitamins, so they are up and away and out of the sight and reach of young children.
  • Remember to ensure all medicines and vitamins are secured every time they are used by checking that safety caps are locked and returning them to a location up and away and out of sight.
  • Program the national Poison Help number, 1-800-222-1222, along with other emergency phone numbers in your home and cell phone so they are available in case of an emergency.

"The holidays can be a hectic time, and no one wants to unintentionally put young children in harm's way by leaving medicines in an accessible place. This is why it is so important to be vigilant about making sure all medicines and vitamins are safely stored in 'up-and-away' places, rather than places kids can easily reach or rummage through," said Emily Skor, vice president of Communications and Alliance Development at CHPA.

Safe medicine storage should be practiced year-round. Returning medicines to a secure location every time they are used can help prevent unsupervised ingestions and ED visits by young children each year.

To learn more about safely storing medicines and vitamins at home and on-the-go, please visit UpandAway.org or in Spanish at UpandAway.org/es.

About Up and Away and Out of Sight
Up and Away and Out of Sight is an educational program to remind families of the importance of safe medicine storage. All medicines and vitamins should always be kept up and away and out of a child's reach and sight – every time they are used. Up and Away and Out of Sight is part of the PROTECT Initiative, developed in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) Educational Foundation.

About the PROTECT Initiative
The PROTECT Initiative is an innovative collaboration bringing together public health agencies, private sector companies, professional organizations, consumer/patient advocates, and academic experts to develop strategies to keep children safe from unintentional medication overdoses.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the 130-year-old-trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements.

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SOURCE Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) Educational Foundation
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