The family vacation is a grand tradition. When summer arrives and children are off from school, it's time for everyone to pile into the car (or even onto a bus, train or plane) and set off for distant parts and adventures.
However, one adventure you definitely don't want to have while on your family vacation is the my-child-just-swallowed-my-pills emergency room adventure. That's why it's important to pack up your medicines carefully when you go on a family trip, especially if you are traveling with very young children.
Keep Pills In Child-Safe Bottles
It may sound like common sense, but sometimes, pills come in very large bottles. It can be tempting to move them into a smaller container, whether that's a dedicated pill box or just an empty mint container, to save space when packing. But if you're traveling with children (or are going to be staying with friends or family who have children), this is a bad idea.
If you're trying to save space and not bring huge pill bottles, look for child-proof or lockable pill bottles or organizers, which are often available at pharmacies. But the best option is to leave pills in their original safety containers.
Never Leave Medicines Out
When you take your pills, be sure to put them away again after you're done. It's a simple thing to forget, but it's important to keep even child-proof bottles away from children as much as possible. With observation, even young children can figure out how to open many child-proof bottles.
If you are staying in a hotel, consider storing medications in a safe if your room contains one. If this isn't possible, store them in a high cabinet that will be difficult for a child to reach.
And if you are going to be a guest at the home of a friend or relative, see if they have a protected spot to store your medicine. Children may be tempted to root through purses or luggage, whether looking for something in particular or just being curious. If you can move your medication somewhere out-of-sight (or even better, out-of-reach), you should do so.
Don't Only Protect Pills
It's easy to think of pills as the most important things to keep away from children, but there are plenty of other forms of medication that a young child could get into. Creams, ointments, liquid medications and eye and ear drops can also land a child in the emergency room. Make sure to keep all these things where your child can't get at them.
Only Bring What You Need
The less medicine you bring on vacation, the less medicine you'll have to keep track of and protect during the vacation. While it's good to be prepared, for non-essentials (such as cold medicine or cough syrup), ask yourself whether you would be able to buy the medicine while on vacation if you ended up needing it. By simplifying what you bring with you, you can make your life a little easier.
Contact a local pediatrician, like Paul Bloom, with any questions about medications and children.