The Family Medicine Cabinet
As parents, we do so much to keep our kids safe and healthy, yet we know that illness and injuries are an inevitable part of growing up. When your child is sick or hurt, you need a well-stocked medicine cabinet with necessary and up-to-date items.
Store Medication Wisely
It’s important to store your medicines properly—and the bathroom is not an ideal location. “Bathrooms tend to get hot and steamy . . . and typically when drug companies do testing, they are under controlled conditions,” says Dawn Butler, Clinical Coordinator for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “The heat and humidity typical of bathroom-type areas or over the stove tend to cause the medicine to break down.”
So where is the best place to keep your medicines? “Any place where things are safe and at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Certainly in a home with children, you want to put it up high,” says Butler. She adds that upper kitchen cabinets are a common place to store medications and a good choice as long as the cabinet is not directly over the stove. Parents may also find a high shelf in a linen closet works well. Medicines must be completely inaccessible to young kids.
To maintain your medicine cabinet, the US Food and Drug Administration recommends that parents follow these tips:
- Clean out your medicine cabinet and the area where you store medical supplies at least once a year.
- Discard outdated products, damaged containers, and old supplies. Butler says that a medicine’s stability and efficacy information is based on the medication’s use-by date.
- Restock supplies as needed.
- Keep all items in their original containers so that no one takes the wrong medicine.
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