Summer vacation is here, and children eagerly anticipate
a visit to grandma�s house. With young visitors,
however, comes great responsibility. Grandparents should
take time to poison-proof their home before the kids
According to the American Association of Poison Control
Centers (AAPCC), some of the medicines commonly used by
older adults, even in very small quantities, can be
deadly to young children. For example:
� A 12 month-old died after sucking the coating off a
high-blood pressure pill.
� A single diabetes pill can dangerously lower a child�s
blood sugar, causing seizures and coma.
� Many other drugs used to manage heart disease and
arthritis can be fatal to children who swallow only a
The AAPCC reports that in 2002 approximately 30 children
died in the U.S. from poisoning, and hundreds more
suffered serious harm, especially children under age
six. Poison exposures typically occur when the natural
curiosity of children and the habits of older people
combine to create a hazard. For example, because seniors
are more likely to take several medications each day,
they are also more likely to leave medicine near the
bedside, by the bathroom sink, or on the kitchen
table�all within reach of little hands. Grandparents are
also likely to store medicines in containers without
child-resistant caps, like cups, �reminder containers�
or coat pockets.
The AAPCC offers simple steps grandparents can take to
reduce the risk of unintentional poisonings.
1.) Keep all medicines and vitamins in containers with
child-resistant caps, not in cups or �reminder
containers.� After using the product always re-secure
the child-resistant closure.
2.) Be sure medicines, cleaning products, and other
household chemicals are out of reach and locked away.
3.) Conduct a medicine cabinet inventory and flush
outdated medicines down the toilet. Rinse liquids
bottles before discarding.
4.) Be sure that medicines and household products are
secured and out of a child�s reach before answering the
phone or doorbell, or take the product with you.
5.) Children love to imitate adults. Take your medicines
out of the child�s view.
6.) Keep foods and household chemicals separated.
Cleaning fluids, detergents, and other everyday
household products should be stored away from foods.
7.) Keep products in original containers�-never put
paints, solvents, lamp oil, or pesticides in bottles,
glasses, or jars customarily used for food.
8.) If a child does swallow medicine or chemicals�or if
you suspect a child has swallowed medicine or chemicals,
call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately!
The number should be posted and visible near your
Pharmacists, nurses and physicians at local poison
centers are available to answer questions about
medication problems with a call to 1-800-222-1222.
Poison center experts are available round-the-clock,
seven days a week. Poison information is also available
at the AAPCC Web site,