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How to Explain Medication Safety to Children

by Tiffany Raiford

One of the most important things you can do for your children is to teach them the importance of taking medication safely. It’s not a secret that taking too much medication can result in an overdose that can severely injure -- or even kill -- your child. For that reason, the best way to keep your children safe from the dangers of medications is to keep medication out of reach of your kids. That isn’t enough of a safety precaution, however. You also need to teach your kids how to use medication and the many dangers that go along with medication misuse.

Instill in your children’s minds that medication is not candy and that it is not meant to be taken unless they are sick, advises Pfizer, a drug manufacturer. The reason you never call medication candy is because kids are notorious for wanting to eat candy, and they may try to sneak medicine that they think is candy if they like it.

Discuss the importance of only taking medication that you or their other parent is aware of and to never, ever take medication that is prescribed to someone else, advise child development experts at the Kids Health website. Additionally, make sure your children know they should not take medication that is prescribed to them if it was for a different, past illness. To make your home safer for your kids, discard leftover prescription medications after your child has finished her doctor's recommended dosage. Remember to discard said medications out of reach of children, such as away from home or by dumping the contents down the sink prior to putting the container in the trash.

Help your child understand the importance of dosage instructions. If your child is old enough to comprehend the information, go over the dosing instructions on the medication bottle with him. Let him read the warnings and the side effects, and answer his questions about why he cannot have more than the recommended dose. When he is aware that there are dosing instructions and what could happen to him if he takes more than the recommended amount, he is less likely to be tempted to do so.

Sit your kids down and have a serious discussion with them about the fact that medicine is not candy. It is not meant to be used for anything other than treating illness and they are never, ever to take medication without your consent. Ask that they come straight to you if they are to find medication lying around the house somewhere, such as sitting on a counter because you forgot to put it away after your daughter needed a dose in the middle of the night.

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