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How to help kids understand medication

Kids are curious by nature, and few things parents do go unnoticed by their children. Though it's good to encourage their curiosity, children might be in danger if their curiosity takes them to the medicine cabinet.

According to research conducted at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, the number of children under five who required emergency medical care because of household pharmaceutical poisonings increased by 28 percent between 2001 and 2008. Dr. Randall Bond, who led the research, noted that 95 percent of those hospital visits were related to kids getting into someone's medicine and not a result of misdosing of their own medications.

The reasons for those increased hospital visits can vary and might very well be a product of an increased reliance on prescription medications, which are now more prevalent in most family homes than they used to be. For example, the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital notes that prescriptions for oxycodone, a painkiller that can prove deadly if ingested by a child, have increased by 500 percent in recent years. That growing presence only increases the chances accidents might occur when curious kids find these medications around the house.

Regardless of the reasons behind the hospital visits, parents must take steps to ensure their children are safe from prescription medicines around the house. One way to do just that is to explain medications to kids, whether it's about their own medicines or something Mom,