Last year, more than half of all unintentional poisonings in the home occurred by ingesting medications that were not properly stored or disposed of. Here are some household poison protection tips to prevent poisoning incidence by disposing of medications the correct way.
- Lock up medicines and household products, out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store products in their original containers, never in food or drink containers.
- Use child-resistant packages and put the tops on tightly.
- Return the household products and medicines to their proper storage place immediately after use.
- Don’t let children watch adults taking medicine. (Children like to imitate adults.)
- Always read the label and follow the directions on medicines and products.
- Call medicines by their proper names. Never call it candy.
- Begin teaching safety rules to children at an early age.
If a medication disposal program is not available in your area, unwanted or expired medications should be thrown in the trash. Follow these steps:
- Take your drugs out of their original containers.
- Liquids should be poured over paper towels, kitty litter, or coffee grounds. Place tightly wrapped mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty margarine tub, or into a sealable bag.
- Solids (pills, capsules, tablets) may be mixed with undesirable substances such as coffee grounds or kitty litter so that they are less likely to be eaten. Place the tightly wrapped mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty margarine tub, or into a sealable bag.
- Conceal or remove any personal information, including RX number, on the empty containers by covering it with permanent marker or duct tape, or by scratching it off.
- The sealed container with the drug mixture, and the empty drug containers, can now be placed in the trash.
DO NOT: Flush expired or unwanted drugs down the toilet or drain unless the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs you to do so.
DO: Return unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs to a drug take-back program or follow the above steps for household disposal.
If you suspect your child has come in contact with a poisons substance, please call the Poison Help line 1-800-222-1222.