Teaching Kids about OTC Medicines
Three boys in our family means we have a busy household! None of my guys are the handsome, quiet type; they are all the handsome, noisy-active-boisterous types! With seven years between my oldest, Jorryn, and my second son, I find I almost instinctively rely on biggest brother to help with the littles. Jorryn is a great help, too. Although technically he is a tween and still very much a kid, he definitely already impresses me with his life skills. I admit I sometimes forget he really is “just” 11. When I read something like these statistics about over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, I’m reminded there are still a lot of important discussions I need to have with Jorryn.
Turns out, lots of adolescents think OTC drugs are safer than what a doctor prescribes.1 That can lead to a relaxed attitude with kids who can reach the medicine cabinet and self-medicate or “help” younger siblings. About 10,000 emergency room visits a year are from self-administered OTC medicine overdoses in kids under 18.3 In the year 2012 alone, poison centers managed over 296,000 cases of kids in the 6-19 year-old range, with over half of the incidences involving medication errors and misuse.2 That same year, kids 12 and under accounted for over 70,000 cases involving dosing errors at poison centers.4
Scholastic and the American Association of Poison Control Centers, with support from McNeil Consumer Healthcare, have partnered to create resources and activities to encourage families, teachers, school nurses and community organization leaders to engage tweens in conversation about medicine safety. The OTC Medicine Safety hub resources include an overview of the program and a downloadable newsletter; a medicine safety checklist and action plan; an online, interactive activity that encourages responsible medicine storage and safe medicine use practices; and informational resource sheets in five languages. There’s also a free, illustrated story eBook that helps kids understand medicine safety.
Yearly, more than 60,000 kids end up in ER because of taking medicines without parental/caregiver knowledge.5 I’d say that’s about 60,000 too many! Let’s talk more about medicine safety with our kids—even kids who seem to know it all! Whether you’re a mom, a teacher, a health professional or a community leader, go to OTC Medicine Safety for helpful resources.
SOURCES, STATS: 1Partnership for a Drug-Free America. The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS). Teens in grades 7 through 12, 2005. 2Bronstein AC, Spyker DA, Cantilena LR Jr, Rumack BH, Dart RC. 2011 Annual report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS): 29th Annual Report. 3,4American Association of Poison Control Centers. 5Up and Away and Out of Sight.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of McNeil. The opinions and text are all mine.
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