With cold and flu season still going strong, it’s important to be careful with your medications.  Before you think that only other people suffer from unintentional poisoning, have a word with yourself.

Unintentional Poisoning Facts

  • Poisoning is the fourth leading cause of injury deaths and permanent total disability in Canada.
  • More than 50% of all poisonings involve young children, with children between 1 and 3 years of age at highest risk.
  • Medication is involved in 67% of all unintentional poisonings of children age 14 and under.
  • 75% of childhood poisonings involve substances that are in use at the time or are not in their usual storage place.
  • The child-proof caps on medication bottles are only child-resistant.
  • Cough/cold and pain/fever medications are the most common medications behind child poisoning incidents.
  • Preventable overdoses are commonly caused by combining medications that contain acetaminophen.
  • Prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications can sometimes have the same ingredients. Combining them can lead to a preventable overdose.

Helpful Tips

  • Keep a list of all of the medications and supplements that you’re taking, and let your pharmacist know.
  • Always talk to your pharmacist before taking any new medications or supplements.
  • Use the same pharmacy for all of your prescription medications. That way your pharmacist can let you know if you’re at risk of drug interactions.
  • Read the labels on all of your medications and supplements carefully.
  • Keep dangerous products out of sight and out of reach of children.
  • Keep medicine and cleaning products locked up.
  • Place safety latches on all drawers or cabinets containing harmful products and use products that have child-resistant safety caps. Be aware that child-resistant caps are not child proof.
  • Never call medicine “candy” and do not take medicine in front of a child because he or she might copy you.
  • Ask house guests and visitors to keep purses, bags or coats that have medicine in them away and out of sight when they are in your home.
  • Have a Poison Control emergency number handy in case of emergency.