6 Things to Teach Your Tween About OTC Medicine Safety
How much do our tweens really know about OTC (Over-the-Counter) Medicine Safety? According to a few recent surveys, tweens got a failing grade. In fact, not only did the tweens get a failing grade, but the vast majority of parents weren’t even sure whether OTC-related issues were being taught in their tweens’ school. Plus, 58 percent of parents surveyed believed their tweens understood the difference between prescription and OTC medicines, while 67 percent of tweens thought it was ok to use someone else’s prescription medicines.
“I see it every day in my practice – tweens often begin to self-medicate around middle school,” says Tanya Altmann, M.D., F.A.A.P, a pediatrician and child health expert trained at the University of California, Los Angeles. “It’s very important for parents to teach their tweens to always read and follow the instructions on the label, use the dosing device that comes with the medication and always store medications up and away from younger siblings.” She adds, “These survey results are another reminder that medication safety and education are such important topics, especially for tweens who are starting to become more independent.”
In 2012, America’s poison centers managed over 296,000 exposure cases involving children ages 6 to 19. As a matter of fact, over half of these cases involved medication errors and misuse. As a parent to tweens, these statistics really scared me. I wanted to know what I could do to teach our tweens about OTC medicine safety.
6 Things to Teach Your Tween About OTC (Over-the-Counter) Medicine Safety
- Always read and follow the Drug Facts label, and never take more than what’s directed on the label.
- Know what is in your medicine and never use more than one medicine with the same active ingredient.
- Return medicines up and away and out of sight after every use.
- Always use the dosing device that comes with medicine. Never use household measurement tools like teaspoons, tablespoons or kitchen spoons.
- Tweens should only use OTC medicines with permission and supervision from their parent or guardian.
- Parents play a critical role in helping their tweens learn how to responsibly take OTC medicines. It is imperative that parents are equipped with the necessary materials to best support the in-classroom lessons to which their teens have been exposed.
“Scholastic is pleased to be partnering with AAPCC on this important program,” shares Ann Amstutz Hayes, senior vice president, Scholastic National Partnerships. “Together we are supporting educators, school health professionals and families with interactive multimedia tools and resources that have been proven to help teachers and their students. OTC Literacy is specifically tailored to meet the needs of these teachers and students to increase knowledge on the important topic of OTC medicine safety and to drive positive behavior change.”
The OTC Literacy program was successfully launched in schools in 2013 and includes resources and engaging educational activities specifically designed for parents and teachers of tweens to increase knowledge of OTC safety and responsible use. The program places special emphasis on the message that tweens should only take OTC medications with the permission and supervision of parents or guardians. Materials can be downloaded HERE.
Have you talked with your tween about OTC medicine safety? Do you have any additional things that you would teach a tween about OTC medicine safety?