Medicines and chemicals in the home

140,000 Australian parents or carers of young children call the Poisons Information centre each year and 3,500 Australian children under 5 years of age are admitted to the hospital due to poisoning (Source: Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia, 2006).

We've put together 10 tips for safe storing chemicals and medicines in your home 

1. Have the number for the Poisons Information Centre – 13 11 26 – readily available. Stick it next to your house phone or on your fridge. 

2. Always read the label and follow the instructions for use. This information will vary depending on the chemical.

3. Follow the storage instructions on the products, such as keeping medicines in a cool place and keeping flammable liquids away from heat. 

4. Closely supervise children around the home and avoid referring to medicines as “lollies”.

5. Chemicals and medicines should be stored in a locked cupboard, 1.5m above ground level and out of reach of children. 

6. Chemicals should remain stored in their original packaging so they are easily identifiable and not confused with others.

7. Consider products that you might not think of as being medicine or chemical such as hand sanitisers, insect baits and paint. 

8. Batteries, especially button batteries that are found in toys should be stored using the same procedures as chemicals. If swallowed, batteries can cause severe burns.

9. Sharp objects should also be stored away from children in a locked cabinet.

10. Dispose of chemicals safely. Return unwanted and out-of-date medicines to your local pharmacy and locate a recycling centre for directions to dispose of your household chemicals safely.

Mind your medicine

Help your child and their friends to make safe choices around medicines. Harold's Summer Holiday speaks all things safety with preschools and Mind Your Medicine helps primary school children understand medicines and the impact they have.

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