In America every day 142 children under age 6 are being seen at emergency rooms after getting into medicine.

Safe Kids Missoula co-coordinator Kira Huck said her national organization sent out a press release detailing the problem of children getting access to adult medications in their own homes.

“Safe Kids Worldwide just released their annual report about medicine safety ahead of poison prevention week which is March 17th through the 23rd,” said Huck. “We still see about 52,000 children under the age of six go to the ER for medicine poisoning. They’re just reminding parents about the importance of safe storage, which means out of reach and out of sight of children, and also following the dosing instructions and making sure you’re disposing of your medications properly.”

Huck provided some important statistics for 2017.

“In 2017 the Montana Poison Control Center received nearly 7,000 calls and nearly 4,000 were for medicine,” she said. “Missoula County had the second highest call volume in the state, which leads us to realize that this is a problem locally. The poisoning of kids is still a primary concern, and it’s the second leading cause of hospital-admitted injuries for kids age one to four in Montana and also the second leading cause of injury related deaths for Montana children ages one to four.”

Disposal of prescription medications is vital to keep them out of the hands of children.

“You can take it to an area drop box and there are several in Missoula at local pharmacies and the police and sheriff’s offices, as well as both hospitals in town,” she said. “There are also medicine disposal bags. You can put liquid, pills and patches in those bags and they just dissolve with water and can be thrown away. Do not flush your medicines down the toilet as they can harm the water system.

Huck also urged grandparents to be extra vigilant when their grandchildren come to visit, to make sure they safely store away their daily medicines out of the reach of children.

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