Protect Your Children: Store & Use Medicines Safely

The Center for Disease Control shared that each year, thousands of children are treated in emergency departments after finding and ingesting medicine, or after accidentally being given the wrong amount.  Learn how to keep children safe by practicing safe dosing and storage.

June is National Safety Month and a perfect opportunity for parents and caregivers of young children to remember the importance of safe medication use and storage.

Safe Medicine Use

“Dosing errors (when a parent or other caregiver gives too much or too little medicine) are the type of medication error that most often brings children into the Emergency Department.” says Dr. Shonna Yin, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Population Health at the NYU School of Medicine.

When giving children liquid medicine, confusion about units of measurement can lead to large dosing errors.  For example, giving a child 5 teaspoons (tsp) instead of his/her prescribed dose of 5 milliliters (mL) would result in giving five times more than the prescribed dose!

To prevent dosing errors, medical professional organizations recommend using milliliters (mL) when prescribing oral liquid medicines and that mL units be the only units appearing on dosing instructions, labels, and dosing devices (such as oral syringes and dosing cups).

Spoons are for soup. Do not use household spoons to measure medicine. Use the oral syringe or dosing cup that comes with your liquid medicine. View large description and text >>

It’s important to always use the dosing device that comes with your children’s medicine to make sure that they get the right amount.

Household spoons should not be used to measure medicine since they come in so many different shapes and sizes. Open the silverware drawer and you might see teaspoons, tablespoons, soup spoons, grapefruit spoons with “teeth,” long-handled iced tea spoons for stirring a glass of cold tea on a hot summer day – you get the idea. Read more

Is my newborn normal?

Therese Gracey, M.D.Specialty: Pediatrics with Edwards-Elmhurst Health shared in their Healthy Driven blog that 

Moms know what a big change it is to have a newborn at home. You’ve waited for months for your baby to get here. Now she’s here and you aren’t quite sure what to make of this tiny creature.

During the first couple of weeks after you give birth, you may wonder: is this how a newborn is supposed to look and behave?

Here are some common newborn traits you should know, and some not-so-normal things to look out for:

  • Crying. All newborn babies cry, all the time. You’ll get familiar with your baby’s normal pattern of crying. Until then, make sure your newborn is fed, burped, has a clean diaper, and isn’t too cold or hot. You can also try holding, rocking, swaddling or singing to her.Contact your pediatrician: If your baby won’t stop crying after trying the above.
  • Breathing. Newborns tend to breathe through their noses, and their nasal passages are narrow. Your baby may breathe noisily, sneeze, or sound congested even when she doesn’t have a cold. A bulb syringe can help with clearing out her nasal passages.Contact your pediatrician right away: If your baby has trouble breathing. When in doubt, go to the ER or call 911.

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Adverse Drug Events in Children

The Center for Disease Control shared that an adverse drug event (ADE) is when someone is harmed by a medicine. Approximately 200,000 children (17 years old or younger) visit emergency departments each year because of adverse drug events.

Children less than 5 years old are more likely than older children to visit the emergency department for an adverse drug event, and each year one in every 150 two-year-olds visits an emergency department for a medication poisoning.

To reduce the risk of harm from adverse drug events in young children, parents should:

  • Use prescription and over-the-counter medicines only as directed.
  • Carefully give medicines as directed on the label or as instructed by a physician or pharmacist.
  • Make sure that safety caps are locked and that medications are kept in a place young children cannot reach or see.

Toddlers can be seriously harmed if they get into medicines when no adult is watching.

Finding and eating or drinking medicines, without adult supervision, is the main cause of emergency visits for adverse drug events among children less than 5 years old. Approximately 60,000 children less than 5 years old are brought to emergency departments each year because of unsupervised ingestions. Nearly 70% of emergency department visits for unsupervised medication ingestions by young children involve 1- or 2- year old children.

Tips for parents:


  • Store medications in a place that is too high for young children to reach or see.
  • Do not leave medicines out after using them (such as at a sick child’s bedside). Immediately return medicines to your safe storage location after each use.
  • Never leave children alone with medicines. If you are giving or taking medicine and you have to do something else, such as answer the phone, take the medicine with you.
  • Never tell children that medicine is candy so they’ll take it, even if your child does not like to take his or her medicine.
  • Remind babysitters, houseguests, and visitors to keep purses, bags, or coats that have medicines in them out of children’s reach and sight.
  • When purchasing medicines for young children, check to make sure they are in child-resistant packaging that you are comfortable using.  Make sure to fully re-secure the cap each time you use the medicine.
  • Put the Poison Help number, 1-800-222-1222, on or near every home telephone and save it on your cell phone.

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Five questions to ask before a play date

Susan Martin, from the American Academy of Pediatrics, shared with the Daily Herald that play dates are a fun way for children to develop friendships and learn important social skills. Visiting another family’s home will also expose your child to a new environment.

Before the play date, it’s a good idea to talk with the other parent about household habits, rules and expectations. It’s also a great opportunity to share any important details about your child — like a food allergy or other health issues.

Here are a few important questions to ask:

1. Who will be watching the children?

Will a parent be home, or will another adult caregiver be home?

Will older siblings, other adults or relatives be there?

If it’s a sleepover, it’s a good idea to understand who will be in the home when your child is there, including other relatives or adults.

If you feel uncomfortable with the situation, you can suggest your child have a “late over,” with fun pajama time, games or a movie, and then come home when it’s time to sleep. Read more

WTTW Kids Fun Food Fest

Come join in the Fun with WTTW at Mariano’s in Lombard on Roosevelt Road.  The event educates parents, grandparents, caregivers, and children about proper nutrition and delivers the message in an interactive, 2 hour performance that includes singing, dancing, healthy food sampling and one-on-one nutritional guidance and education.

The events goes from 10 AM – noon and takes place near the entrance of the store within the WTTW Kids Village which has a stage area, sampling canopies and a learning tent.

There will be a Healthy Lombard table where registered participants can earn  i 1ticket for finding the Fair Location, 1 ticket for attending, the event, and 1 ticket for participating in the Flat Apple activity!

This is a FREE event so please share this information with your friends and neighbors.

To register for Flat Apple go to:

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FARE Safe for the Summer

The temperatures are rising and the days are getting longer: it’s summertime once again.

To help the food allergy community stay safe for the summer, FARE’s Food Allergy Action Heroes are here!

FARE hopes you’ll bring along a Food Allergy Action Hero on your adventures this summer.  To do so, download your favorite hero and a Safe for the Summer activity sheet as a playful way to practice food allergy preparedness CLICK HERE.

Parents can use this fun first step in a conversation with their children about how to safely manage food allergies all year round.

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Vaccinate Your Preteen This Summer

team group of happy child outdoor in nature have fun

The CDC suggests that because most preteens get their shots in the month of August before school begins, it can be difficult to get in to see your child’s doctor or nurse. Make an appointment to get your child vaccinated earlier this summer and beat the back-to-school rush!

Vaccines help protect your preteen, as well as their friends and family members, from serious illness.

What vaccines does CDC recommend for my preteen?

Boys and girls should get the following vaccines at age 11 or 12 years:

  • HPV Vaccine
    Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine helps protect against HPV infections that cause cancer. All boys and girls should get two doses of HPV vaccine before they turn 13 years old. Children who start the vaccine series on or after their 15th birthday need three doses to get complete protection.
  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine
    Meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against four types (serogroups A, C, W, and Y) of Neisseria meningitidis bacteria. These bacteria can cause infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (septicemia). Teens should get a booster dose of this vaccine at 16 years old.

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Can your baby hear you say “I love you?”

The Center for Disease Control shared that  the best way to find out if your baby may be deaf or hard of hearing is by a hearing screening. Early diagnosis and intervention will help them reach their full potential.

Thousands of babies are born deaf or hard of hearing each year in the United States. Babies diagnosed early with hearing loss and begin intervention early are more likely to reach their full potential. The best way to find out if your baby may be deaf or hard of hearing is by a simple hearing test, also called a hearing screening.

Why is a hearing screening important for my baby?

Starting from day 1, babies begin to learn language skills by listening to and interacting with those around them. If babies miss these opportunities, their language development can be delayed. Many times, children’s hearing loss is not obvious and can go unnoticed for months or even years.

Hearing screening at birth can determine if your baby may have a hearing loss and if more tests are needed. An early diagnosis is essential to help babies who are deaf or hard of hearing reach their full potential, and allows families to make decisions about the intervention services that are best for their baby’s needs. Early diagnosis of hearing loss and beginning intervention helps to keep children’s development on track and improve their future language and social development. Read more

Preventing Obesity

id you know that outside of the hospital walls, Lurie Children’s is working to help prevent childhood obesity in Chicago.

Why this needs our attention

Obesity creates long-term health concerns for children. Being overweight or obese can increases a child’s risk for developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers, and raise the likelihood for developing asthma by more than 50%. More than half of overweight and obese adolescents already display at least one risk factor for heart disease.

Obesity can also lead to bullying, stigma, stress and depression.

While recent data show that obesity rates are beginning to level off after years of rapid increases, that rate still remains 300% higher than it was in the 1980s. In America today, nearly 17% of children are obese. Recent projections predict that 57.3% of children will be obese at age 35 and that roughly half of that prevalence will occur during childhood. Even more concerning are the significantly higher obesity rates among children of color. Nationally, 22% of Hispanic children and 19.5% of African American children are obese, much higher than the 14.7% rate for white children. These disparities are mirrored in Chicago’s communities of color: in neighborhoods such as Roseland, Humboldt Park and West Town, nearly 50% of children are obese. Read more