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12 October 2001 News Update


Pharmacists are adding their support to KidSafe Week, which starts on October 12.

Pharmacies are encouraging the public to use child safety caps on medicines known to be dangerous to children if taken accidentally.

One of the main themes of KidSafe Week is the prevention of childhood poisonings, particularly of those under three.

The Pharmaceutical Society says around 550 children a year, under the age of five, are admitted to hospital for poisoning. Two and three-year-olds are most at risk of poisoning from medicines.

The government funds safety caps on a range of medicines in liquid form.

However, the society's manager of pharmacy self-care Carolyn Hooper says pharmacy's code of ethics encourages pharmacist's to provide the caps on a number of tablets and capsules identified as being connected with child poisonings. These include medicines for heart conditions and high blood pressure as well as painkillers and antihistamines.

The government doesn't fund safety caps for loose tablets and capsules dispensed in screw-cap containers so families may be asked to pay a small fee to cover costs.

Carolyn Hooper says, while safety caps are not 100% childproof, they greatly increase the difficulty of access for young children, improving the chances of a caregiver discovering the child before the medicines are taken. Medicines should be stored out of sight and out of reach of children, she adds.

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