Preventing Accidental Poisoning of Children: How Grandparents Can Help

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 7 million grandparents live with one or more minor grandchild. Data from the last decade shows grandparents are the primary caregiver of roughly 21% of preschool-aged children. At Jacoby & Meyers, we have an immense amount of respect for the millions of older Americans who sacrifice in order to ensure their grandchildren receive the love and care they deserve. We hope you and your family finds the information below helpful.

Many older Americans rely on a number of prescription medications to maintain their health. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that approximately 39% of seniors are on 5 or more prescription drugs. A large quantity of prescription medicine in a home increases the risk of accidental medicine poisoning to young children. The good news is with proper precautions accidental poisonings are almost always preventable.

A prescription drug that is beneficial to the person prescribed the medication may be toxic to anyone who is not prescribed the said drug. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, about 60,000 children ages 6 and younger are treated in emergency rooms due to accidental medication consumption. Out of these visits, about 48% of the medicine taken by children were prescribed to the children’s grandparents. According to Family Safety & Health, children find medicine from:

  • Pillboxes: 23%
  • The ground: 23%
  • Purses or diaper bags: 19%
  • Counters: 18%
  • Cabinets or refrigerators: 8%

To help prevent prescription drug-related poisonings, grandparents (and parents) should:

1. Store medicine in child-resistant containers and always keep the cap locked.

Most prescription pill bottles are specially designed to keep children from opening them. By keeping medications in the original bottle you can reduce the risk of medical poisoning or and a trip to the hospital.

2. Keep medicine out of reach and out of sight.

Grandparents should keep medicine in hard to reach places at home. After taking your medications be sure to put the pill bottles back in your designated safe spot before your child has an opportunity to grab the bottle.

3. Check your personal belongings such as jackets, purses, and pockets.

Leaving pills in your pocket or purse may seem convenient, but it could be a deadly decision. Young children are curious by nature. If your little one decides to explore your purse or pockets they could easily find the pills you left for yourself and ingest them without you knowing.

4. Don’t use pill bottles as a reminder

Some adults leave pill bottles out in plain sight to serve as a reminder to take them.  It is important to remember if the medication is easily accessible to you; it is probably easily accessible to your child. Instead of leaving the pills out use sticky notes on the bathroom mirror or set daily alarms/reminders.

5. Always be prepared

Having the phone number for the 24-hour poison hotline is a great way to be prepared if anything does happen. It is always better to be safe than sorry. The number for the poison hotline is (800)-222-1222.

You can find more senior safety tips below:

Dear friends and clients,

In furtherance of our firms culture of commitment to always act with compassion, concern and commitment to our clients, community and colleagues, we have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligations while prioritizing health, wellness and safety of all we can. 

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced changes to many lives and businesses in our communities, and around the world. We, much like our neighbors and friends, have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligation to our clients, while also prioritizing the health, wellness and safety of our employees.

Until further notice, our offices will be closed to the public to encourage social distancing and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our team is still hard at work, many from home, and you may still call, email, live chat or video conference us if you or a loved one is seeking legal assistance. As the first law firm to offer our clients secure online access to their case file more than a decade ago, we have always been believers in using technology to make life easier and information more accessible. In these present times it has been a smooth transition for us to continue to offer our clients the same seamless and thorough service that you deserve and are accustomed to.

This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have faced in our lifetimes, and while we can continue to emotionally support one another through it all, staying home and keeping your distance is vital to the health and wellness of our communities. It does not feel good to break routines, cancel events and retreat from our normal, day-to-day socializing, but let us remember that, in times of strife, prior generations were asked to go to war and we are simply being asked to stay home. Your isolation equals more lives saved, and more time for medical providers to prepare for the treatment of patients battling COVID-19.

When the dust settles, we will join together with a greater appreciation for our lives, local businesses, loved ones and health. Until then, we will continue to offer guidance from a safe distance.

Very truly yours,

Andrew G. Finkelstein and the staff of Jacoby & Meyers, LLP