(This is a reprint from my Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner article on Examiner.com)
It is fair to say that “child proof” is an oxymoron in the age of tech-savvy kids. This is especially true for medications and mobile devices. What we have learned about misuse of devices and drugs over the past decade applies to tiny tots as well as teens.
In their cyber-powered peer communities, teens can easily believe that prescription medications are safe because doctors prescribe them. They are at risk of trading prescription pills that are found at home, based upon the information they glean from the internet about the symptoms medications treat. And via texting it is easy to trade the pills in plain sight. This resulted in an epidemic of teen drug addiction that stems from abuse of prescription pills for studying (Adderall and Ritalin) and as self medication (pain pills).
And this same danger of unauthorized access to medications presenting a serious health risk applies to tiny tots, as “child-proof” caps have proven ineffective. “If you give kids enough time with a device, they will be able to figure it out,” said Vinya Agbor, a mother in the group testing the child-proof medicine bottles used for prescription and over-the-counter drugs, according to an ABC News report. Children of all ages are tech-savvy in that they learn by watching and doing – this is true for apps and devices, including how to open a “child-proof” cap.
According to SafeKids Worldwide, 1.3 million calls are made to poison centers in 2013, and 49% are related to medication; 83 percent of those calls were the result of kids getting into medication not intended for them. Fifty-three percent of the overdose calls were for kids aged one to two years, who are getting into over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen.
Retired New York State Trooper, Mike Matles, encourages parents to make sure that tiny tots do not have access to medication bottles because they are not child-proof. “I responded to a call and I could hear the mother screaming as I walked into the house. Her purse was on the floor, and the little girl, two maybe three years old had gotten into the prescription medication she found in her mom’s purse,” he said. “The girl’s lips were blue, and she was pronounced dead at the hospital.”
SaferLock inventor, Joseph Simpson, is a Lincoln resident. He wants every parent to realize that taking a simple precaution, such as storing medications in a bottle that is secure with a combination lock can save the lives of small children as well as teens. SaferLock is his response to the loss of teenage lives from addiction to prescription pain medications easily accessed at home. “I invented a prescription pill bottle with a combination lock, to help parents prevent teens from falling into and dying from drug addiction,” Simpson said. “And then we learned that very young children are dying from accidental overdose by accessing over-the-counter and prescribed medicines because ‘child-proof’ caps are actually not child-proof.”
The bottom line for parents is that no matter what the age of your children, when you secure medications, and talk to your kids about the safety measures you are taking and why, the signal you send is that their lives are important and that you care. Setting the example is the best prevention strategy.
To learn more about SaferLock, go to: SaferLockRx
To learn more about recent legislation for prescription medication dispensed with combination lock features, go to: MyStateLine.com
ABOUT: Banana Moments Foundation is a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. The BMF mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. To that end, ten percent of all BMF proceeds are donated to prison ministries. Your Donations are greatly appreciated.
As the Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner, my personal mission is to educate and inspire parents from all walks of life and social settings to realize their inherent authority to govern the home and educate the child about their own power; the personal power that comes from the spiritual resilience of your chosen faith. And so I write for Examiner.com to express the passion of my mother heart to a diverse audience.
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.