(NewsUSA) - Grandparents love spending time with their grandchildren. Grandbabies bring so much joy. However, it's not unusual for the curious, tiny fingers of youngsters to end up in places they shouldn't. Putting precious or breakable objects out of reach is important, and so is keeping medicines and vitamins up and away and out of sight of young children.
More than 70,000 children end up in emergency departments each year after getting their hands on medicines left within reach. That's 165 kids -- or roughly four busloads of kids -- per day. Far too often, that medicine belonged to a grandparent.
Where are young children getting their hands on medicines? From countertops and bedside tables, purses and pockets, and loose pills on tables or floors. Weekly pill minders can help you keep track of multiple medications, but they rarely have child-resistant features so a curious child can't get into the colorful medicines stored inside.
"Grandparents and parents may not be aware of the danger posed by leaving medications where young children can reach or see them," says Dr. Dan Budnitz, director of the Medication Safety Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "A few simple steps -- followed every time -- can protect our children."
So, grandparents, enjoy your precious time with your young grandchildren. But whether hosting them in your house or visiting at theirs, remember to store your medicines in a place they cannot access. Here are some tips from CDC's "Up and Away and Out of Sight" initiative:
* Keep all medicines and vitamins up and away and out of sight in a high cabinet or other place inaccessible to your grandchildren. If you think you may forget to take your medicines if they are not in sight, leave yourself a reminder on the refrigerator or somewhere you check daily.
* Never leave medicine or vitamins out on a counter or bedside table, even if you have to take the medicine again 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.
* Never tell children medicine is candy so they'll take it, even if your grandchild does not like to take his or her medicine.
* Keep purses, bags or coats that have medicines or vitamins in them out of reach and sight of young children.
* Program the Poison Help number (1-800-222-1222) into your phone so you have it in case of emergency.
Visit UpandAway.org for more tips on safe medicine storage.