5 Reasons to Consider Locking Your Medications if You Have Young Kids

lockable medicine cabinetBy Robert A. Poarch

The statistics make a clear case. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a poison control center answers a call about a young child getting into medicine every minute, which adds up to nearly 500,000 calls per year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, “about 60,000 young children end up in emergency rooms each year because they got into medicines while an adult wasn’t looking.”

Children are curious, and they’re always watching you. Placing your medications out of children’s reach by practicing safe storage can help prevent medication-related tragedies from happening. Here are some reasons to consider keeping your medications under lock and key:

1. There’s no excuse. Combined with common sense measures for storing your medications, [1] securing your medications in a locked cabinet or lock box is the most effective way to prevent accidental poisoning. Plus, there’s added peace of mind knowing that you’ve got the key or combination.

2. Start a good habit. Your babies won’t stay small forever. As they get taller and wiser, nonlocked methods become easier to get past for curious kids. If you’ve already set in motion locking your meds, it’s a habit that will stay with you for a lifetime. One day, it’s likely you’ll be taking more medications and your grandkids will be visiting.

3. Don’t forget vitamins and supplements. When it comes to pills and tablets, little ones can’t distinguish between medicine and health aids. Vitamins, for example, often come in candy-like colors and flavors, and both vitamins and supplements can have unintended side effects if not taken in the proper dosage.

4. Traveling. Just because you’re on a family vacation doesn’t mean that you should be lax with your meds. There are several lockable travel-size pouches available that will fit in your suitcase. It’s also a good idea to keep them under your clothes so curious eyes won’t be tempted when you’re not in the hotel room.

5. Don’t forget about your pet’s meds. Pet medications pose the same attraction and risk for children as your medications. And, if ingested, they can be just as dangerous.

Save the Poison Help number in your phone: 1-800-222-1222. It’s not just for emergencies. You can call with questions about how to take or give medicine, concerns about plants, chemicals, carbon monoxide, bites, stings and more.


Reviewed by Beverly Hopps, SafeKids WNC Outreach Coordinator.

Safe Kids WNC, led by Mission Children’s Hospital, is committed to reducing accidental injury among children in western North Carolina. For more information, visit Safe Kids WNC. [2]