PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) --Every year, about 60,000 kids go to the ER after getting into medication left within their reach. So Consumer Reports is making Monday its first-ever 'National Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet' day.
Your medicine cabinet can become a dumping ground for old drugs. But with every bottle of pills you keep, it raises the risk for accidental poisonings for kids
"Those leftover pills are far from harmless. Taking them incorrectly or accidentally could be deadly, or land a child in the ER," said Consumer Reports' Ginger Skinner.
Leftover narcotic painkillers like Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin are especially dangerous. Prescription sleep aids like Ambien, and anti-anxiety medications like Xanax are also risky.
"You really want to make sure medications like these are secure - either locked away or well-hidden, out of kids' reach," warns Skinner.
Over-the-counter medicines can also be trouble for kids, particularly if they look or taste like candy.
A new nationally representative survey by Consumer Reports found that 19% of people hadn't cleaned out their medicine cabinet in over 3 years!
To properly dispose of drugs at home, remove any personal information from the bottle first and mix the drugs with something unappealing, like coffee grounds or kitty litter, before sealing in a plastic bag, and toss into the trash.
Many police stations also have drop boxes or you could take them to drop points on April 29th - National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
Finally, Consumer Reports urges caregivers to be especially vigilant at keeping drugs out of reach of children. Don't rely on child safety caps - they are child-resistant, not child-proof.