Children are curious creatures. They enjoy exploring new places, learning new things and testing everything they come across – especially if their parents tell them not to.
Most parents are aware of the risks of storing dangerous liquids, such as bleach or cleaning fluids, but a far more common cause of child poisoning in Ireland is medication.
Here are some tips to help you make the medicine cabinet safe for your children.
  • Make sure you’re storing medicine in a safe place. A lot of people use kitchen or bathroom cabinets that are high up and even though this is difficult for a child to access, you should still fit a safety lock on the cabinet door to be safe.
  • You should keep all your medicines, both over-the-counter and prescribed, safely locked away in your medicine cabinet. Seemingly safe products such as mouthwashes, creams and vitamins should also be kept out of reach as these contain ingredients that could be dangerous if swallowed.
  • Many medicines have expiration dates, so make sure you go through the cabinet regularly and remove anything that has passed its expiry date. When binning old medicine, make sure your children (and pets) are unable to gain access.
  • Don't rely on packaging to protect your kids. Child-resistant does not mean childproof, so make sure they’re stored safely out of the way.
  • Never compare tablets to sweets when giving them to your children as this could entice them. You should also avoid taking your own medicine in front of children as they often copy adults.
  • Make sure purses and bags – even those belonging to your guests - that contain medications are kept out of the reach of kids at all times.
  • When your child is old enough to understand, clearly explain to them that medicine can be dangerous and only adults can touch them.
If your child ingests medication, follow this procedure:
  • Stay calm but act quickly.
  • Take the poison away from your child.
  • If the poison was eaten, make the child spit it out. Run your fingers around their mouth and remove any remaining pieces.
  • Don’t make your child vomit.
  • Call the Poisons Information Centre (01) 809 2166 (8am -10pm).
  • Always take the product container with you to the telephone or to the GP or hospital.
  • If your child is unconscious, having seizures or not breathing, call an ambulance right away.



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