Washington, D.C. (Dec. 13, 2011)—More than 60,000 young children end up in emergency rooms every year after getting into medicine while their parents or caregivers were not looking. To remind parents and caregivers about the importance of safe medicine storage, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) Educational Foundation, in partnership with the PROTECT Initiative, today launched the Up and Away and Out of Sight educational program.
In recent years, the number of accidental overdoses in children increased by 20 percent. Up and Away and Out of Sight aims to educate parents and caregivers about how they can prevent accidental overdoses. The program reminds them to store medicines safely; providing them with information and tools to keep their child/children safe; and encouraging them to take action.
"We know that, unfortunately, many children have to visit the emergency room because of accidental medication exposures," said Dr. Dan Budnitz, director of CDC's Medication Safety Program in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. "To help combat these preventable harms, the Up and Away and Out of Sight program gives parents and caregivers the information they need to store medicine safely and protect children."
With cough and cold season now here, it is more important than ever for families to be reminded to always store medicine safely and securely in their homes. The average child will have six to eight colds a year, while the average adult will get two to four colds a year.
In addition, with the holiday season upon us, many families will be traveling and hosting visitors in their homes. As a result, medicines belonging to friends and family members may be left in places accessible to children. This campaign asks consumers to remind relatives, houseguests, babysitters, and other visitors to keep purses, bags, and coats that may have medicines or vitamins in them up and away and out of sight of children.
Safety tips for parents and caregivers include:
- Never leave medicine or vitamins out on a kitchen counter or at a sick child's bedside, even if you have to give another dose in a few hours.
- Always relock the safety cap on a medicine bottle. If it has a locking cap that turns, twist it until you hear the click.
- Explain to children what medicine is and why you must be the one to give it to them.
- Never tell children that medication or vitamins are candy, even if your child does not like to take his or her medicine.
- Program the poison control center number – 1-800-222-1222 – into home and cell phones so that the number is easily available in case of an emergency.
"Young children are curious and they can quickly get into medicines or vitamins when parents and caregivers aren't looking. Through our involvement with Up and Away and Out of Sight, the CHPA Educational Foundation is committed to working with the CDC and other stakeholders to keep children safe by helping parents and caregivers understand the steps needed to make sure medicines are safely stored in the home," said Emily Skor, vice president of Communications & Alliance Development at CHPA. "Parents work hard to protect their children, and this program reminds them to keep medicines and vitamins up and away and out of sight of children."
Up and Away and Out of Sight is supported by members of the PROTECT Initiative, which include: CDC, government agencies, non-profit organizations, professional organizations, industry partners, and academic representatives. The program includes a website, multimedia content and downloadable materials for parents and caregivers.
For more information on Up and Away and Out of Sight, please visit: UpandAway.org.
Contact: Jenni Terry, 202.429.9260
About Up and Away and Out of Sight
Up and Away and Out of Sight is an educational program to remind families of the importance of safe medicine storage. All medicines and vitamins should always be kept up and away and out of a child's reach and sight – every time they are used. Up and Away and Out of Sight is part of the PROTECT Initiative, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) Educational Foundation.
About the PROTECT Initiative
The PROTECT Initiative is an innovative collaboration bringing together public health agencies, private sector companies, professional organizations, consumer/patient advocates, and academic experts to develop strategies to keep children safe from unintentional medication overdoses.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the 130-year-old-trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements.