Jul 21, 2019 | Updated: 09:46 AM EDT

Grandparents Medicines Not Secure Enough around Grandchildren, According to a Poll

Jul 03, 2019 08:53 AM EDT

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Medicines of Many Grandparents Not Secure Enough around Grandchildren, According to a Poll
(Photo : University of Michigan)

For some older adults, spending time with grandchildren brightens life, whether a weekly routine or a rare treat. According to a recent poll, it suggests that many of these older adults could do more to cut down on the risk of their medication harming their grandchild. The poll further revealed that more than 80 percent of the grandparents keep their medicine in the same place as usual when their grandchildren visit them and 72 percent keep their medication in their purse or bag when they go to visit their grandchildren.

Researchers at the University of Michigan that were involved in the poll indicated that these practices might put children at risk of accidental poisoning if they get into their grandparent's medications. The easy access for older grandchildren may result in misuse of some medicines that hold the potential for abuse, including sedatives and pain medicines.

The Michigan Medicine, U-M's academic medical center and AARP supported the poll which U-M Institute of Healthcare Policy and Innovation carried out by examining more than 2,000 adults aged 50 to 80 questions about medication storage. The results of the National Poll on Healthy Aging suggest that grandparents need more education about safe medication storage when they are around children and teens.

Almost 40 percent of children treated emergency departments for medication-related poisoning took their grandparent's medicines, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The poll's director, Preeti Malani, M.D., said that prescription medicines and even over-the-counter medicines and supplements could harm children and teens who find them in the purse or on the kitchen table of their grandpa. Opioid painkillers and sleep medicines, meanwhile, could be diverted for recreational use by teens. No matter how old the grandchildren are, there is a need to think about medication safety.

The senior vice president of research for AARP, Alison Bryant, Ph.D., noted that they know that grandparents love spending time with their grandkids. A few simple steps can keep those little ones safe when they are together. Grandparents must not leave medications in their purse or on a kitchen counter as it is best to keep them locked up. Also, it is a good idea to go through their medications every few months and safely discard any that are expired or no longer needed.

As Malani explained further, childproof prescription drug vials and bottles were developed and required starting years ago, mainly to protect children from accidentally swallowing medicine not prescribed to them.

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