With more than 10,600 phone calls about accidental medicines exposures in children 0-14 years old made to the NSW Poisons Information Centre in one year, this Be Medicinewise Week, Life Education NSW is reminding parents and carers the importance of children’s medicine safety.
Life Education NSW CEO Kellie Sloane said these alarming statistics highlight the need for both parents and children to learn more about children’s medicines.
“As parents we need to make sure we are fully informed when it comes to providing medicine to our children,” Ms Sloane said. “It's equally important for us to recognise our own practices, and what we role model, when it comes to medicine use.”
“Children also need to understand that medicines are drugs, and the consequences of their misuse.”
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in 2013, 4.7% of Australians aged 14 or older had misused a pharmaceutical in the previous 12 months. Painkillers and analgesics made up 3.3% of this with 78% of those being over the counter painkillers.
Life Education offers a dedicated ‘Mind Your Medicine’ module to help middle and upper primary school children to understand that while medicines can be helpful, they can also be harmful if used inappropriately.
“By reaching out to children at primary level, we hope to lay the foundation for a lifelong understanding of how to make the right choices in relation to health and wellbeing,” Ms Sloane said.
‘Mind Your Medicine’ helps children to explore medicines, how they can help and affect the body and why some people need them, as well as how the social and emotional aspects of health can positively or negatively affect health and wellbeing.
In a game show format including quizzes and short videos, children are encouraged to answer questions, solve problems and start discussions to help them develop skills and strategies to navigate their way onto into a safe and healthy adulthood.
Schools and parents interested in knowing more about Life Educations’ ‘Mind Your Medicine’ program can visit the Life Education NSW website www.lifeeducation.org.au, telephone 1300 HAROLD or email firstname.lastname@example.org