Keep Your Kids Safe: Put Medicines and Supplements, Including Gummies, Up and Away

Posted on by Rachel Meyers, PharmD
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Rachel Meyers, PharmD

National Poison Prevention Week (March 17-23, 2024) is a good time for parents and caregivers to review how medicines are stored in their homes. While you may keep prescription medicines Up and Away, and out of reach and sight of young children, it’s important to remember that over-the-counter medicines and supplements, such as vitamins and melatonin (including those in gummy form), should also be kept out of reach and sight.

Over the past decade, gummy products have become increasingly common on pharmacy shelves, offering a “candy-like” option for vitamins and other supplements such as melatonin. Gummy products come in appealing flavors, shapes, and textures, and these factors can make these products extremely appealing to young children, increasing the risk of overdoses. Children often see these products as treats and may ask for more than the recommended amount.

While these products seem safe and child-friendly, they can still be dangerous when not taken as directed. It is important that parents and caregivers not use medicines or supplements as rewards as this may increase their appeal and overdose potential.

Here are some good tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep all medicines, vitamins, and other supplements, including gummy products, Up and Away and out of reach and sight of young children.
  • At home or away, keep medicines in their original child-resistant containers.
  • Remind houseguests to put any medicines they have with them, such as those contained in a purse or other bag, in a secure spot where children cannot reach or see them.
  • Households without young children may have medicines in easy-to-reach spots. When visiting friends or relatives, ask ahead to make sure their medicines are Up and Away and out of sight.
  • If you must take medicines out of their original container, use a pill organizer or pill box that has features designed to keep children from opening them.
  • If you think your child has gotten into a medicine or supplement, please call your local poison center via the national hotline right away, even if you aren’t sure. Poison control hotline: 1-800-222-1222.

Finally, an important piece of preventing these overdoses is helping children learn the dangers of poisonings.  Parents and caregivers can explain to children that medicines should only be given to them by a trusted grown-up and that medicines and supplements, including gummy vitamins or melatonin, are not candy and can make them sick if they take too much.

To learn more about medication safety and safe storage, visit Up and Away Campaign | Medication Safety Program | CDC.

Rachel Meyers is a Pediatric Clinical Pharmacist at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey and a Clinical Professor at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey. Dr. Meyers’ practice focuses on the safe use of medications for children.

Posted on by Rachel Meyers, PharmDTags

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Page last reviewed: March 21, 2024
Page last updated: March 21, 2024