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Quarter of Grandparents Keep Meds Where Kids Can Find Them

White pills in a prescription bottle (


A survey by the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor shows nearly one quarter of grandparents in the U.S. of children age 1 to 5 say they keep their prescription medicines in easily accessible containers or locations. The findings were part of the hospital’s National Poll on Children’s Health conducted in January and released today.

The survey shows nearly all (97%) of parents with young children and grandparents (98%) have medicines in the home, either prescription or over-the-counter. Among grandparents, a large majority (85%) prescription medicines, as do about eight in 10 parents (79%).

However, parents report doing a better job than grandparents at keeping the medicines away from young children. Nearly a quarter (23%) of grandparents keep their medications in easy-open containers or daily-dosage boxes, compared to only about 5 percent of parents. Similar percentages of grandparents (18%) say they keep their medicines in easily accessible locations, compared to parents (8%).

While their behavior may entail risks for children, respondents say they approve of new laws that make it harder for children to accidentally ingest large quantities of medications. About two-thirds of adults questioned say they would support new laws that require companies to package tablets, capsules, and liquid medicines as single doses.

“Every 10 minutes a young child in the U.S. is taken to the emergency room because of possible poisoning from swallowing a prescription medicine or over-the-counter medicine,” says Matthew Davis, director of the poll. “We hope the results of this poll are a reminder to parents, grandparents and all those who care for young children: check around your homes to make sure that medicines are safely stored out of reach.”

The survey was conducted for the hospital by Knowledge Networks Inc. among a randomly selected, stratified group of adults age 18 and older, with a final sample size of 2,131 respondents. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 1 to 8 percentage points.

Read more: Medication Poisoning of Young Children Rising Sharply

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