PREVENTING MEDICINE POISONING IN CHILDREN There are more medicines in homes across America than ever before - raising the risk that some of it might fall into the hands of children. More than 59,000 kids across the country were treated in emergency rooms in 2013 - many of them because they got their hands on medicines while parents or other caregivers weren't watching, especially kids 5 years of age and younger. University Health System leads the San Antonio affiliate of Safe Kids Worldwide, which has launched a campaign to raise awareness about the very preventable problem of medicine poisoning in children. As part of that campaign, the Health System has added medication safety to two of its parent education classes - Baby U and its Mommies program. Preventing injury and disease - and not just treating them - is a big part of University Health System•s commitment to community health, a commitment that ranges from providing almost 26,000 immunizations and more than 4,600 senior health screenings last year, to operating one of the largest and most comprehensive injury prevention program in the state. "All families with children need to be aware of the risks of medicine poisoning;• said Jennifer Northway, director of the Adult and Pediatric Injury Prevention Program at University Health System. •This includes being vigilant about protecting young children by ensuring safe storage of medicine and teaching older children and teens about medicine safety: The problem is compounded by the fact that more children are living or spending time with grandparents - who tend to have more medicines on hand. In fact, the number of children living with a grandparent more than doubled between 1980 and 2014. Ms. Northway recommends that all medicine and vitamins be stored out of reach and sight when younger children are in the house. When giving medicine to younger kids, its important to use the measuring device that came with the product. And parents should write clear instructions for caregivers about children's medicines. For children 6-10, the best advice is to be a good example. What kids see you do makes a bigger impact than what they hear you say. Read medicine labels with your child. As kids get older, it's important they learn how to read and understand a label before taking medicine. "Sometimes, parents and caregivers make choices of convenience that unintentionally put children at risk, such as carrying medicine in a purse or storing it in a pillbox," Ms. Northway said. "Sometimes they don't recognize that it can take only seconds for a child to get into a medicine. Families may not even realize that products like vitamins or diaper rash products can be very harmful if ingested accidentally." The University Health System Foundation supports the work of Safe Kids San Antonio, which brings together community groups and businesses to prevent harm to children.
2016 See How We See Annual Report
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