KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It’s important to store medicine away from children, yet each year around 60,000 children in the U.S. are treated in emergency rooms due to accidental medication poisoning.

Making the problem worse many medicines look and even taste like candy. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital ER Director Dr. Ryan Redman explains the risks and offers tips to prevent a child from getting to medications.

Two gingerbread houses: one decorated with over-the-counter medications and one with candy. Can you tell the difference? Neither can kids.

Parents should talk with their children about what can happen if they ingest too much of one or more medications. It is especially important this time of year as families may be traveling to a relative’s home which isn’t childproof.

Underestimating the risks

Nearly three in five parents think if medicine is out of reach, it’s in a safe place. But, research shows that in about half of over-the-counter poisoning cases, the child climbed on a chair, toy or other device to reach medicine.

One in three parents think if their child is being watched, it doesn’t matter as much where medicines are stored.  But, parents frequently tell ER doctors that they’d only turned their back for a minute.

Half of parents think child-resistant packaging means a child won’t be able to get into medicine at all. But, research shows that about half of accidental poisonings involved child-resistant packaging.

Prevention tips

Store all medicine, prescriptions, vitamins and supplements up and out of sight of kids all the time.

Make sure all caretakers of your child store medicine away. Remember this when visiting family and friends.

Put the Poison Help number in your phone for emergencies, 1-800-222-1222.

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