Are medications stored safely in your home? Think about it for a minute. If your medicine bottles are kept stashed on your kitchen counter, on a window sill, or even in your bathroom cabinet, that is not a safe place for them. If you have toddlers, teens (including their friends), kids with special needs, or really any adults you don’t know in and out of your home, this is a risk. Keep reading for practical solutions for how to safely lock up medications in a home.
When we became foster parents, as part of our home study we had to prove we had medications locked away. We felt a little guilty since we had toddlers in the house, but we had honestly never thought to lock up our medications before, even though we knew we probably should.
Later, as we are now raising teens and kids with special needs, it became even more important to safely keep medications stored safely.
While locking up meds is something we do, I have to admit it’s kind of a pain. We’ve learned through trial and error some methods that work, including some products that are handy to have.
If you are a foster parent or going through an adoption home study, your state probably requires you to prove you are locking up medications. Be sure to check with your state about specific requirements, as each state is different.
Here are the solutions we’ve found for how to safely lock up medications at home.
How to Safely Lock Up Medications
Medicine Lock Box
The best place to start is with a medicine lock box.
A medicine lock box is great because you can carry it with you if needed, and even just from room to room in your house. We have a really simple box with a key. (Here is a link to a medicine lock box with a key or you can also get a medicine lock box with a combination. See below for additional options and photos.)
The pros to a key is that you don’t have to worry about the kids figuring out the combination (something our kids seem to be good at doing, especially with our computer passwords, but that’s a different post), or forgetting it (my issue, but that’s another post). The con is you risk losing the key or the kids getting ahold of it.
Next, here is where a home is different from a hospital and you need to weigh some decisions based on convenience.
We put out one dose of medication per person for each morning and each evening in bottles labeled with names. One adult measures all the meds at night for night doses and for the next morning, and these sit out on the kitchen counter.
There is a bit of risk there, but we talked to their doctor and even if one of the kids downed what’s in all the bottles, it wouldn’t be enough to cause lasting harm because of the types of medications they take. And our kids (so far, thankfully) aren’t really tempted to take extra medications. So we are okay with taking this much risk for the convenience factor. You have to decide here what works for you. If you have any concerns, put these bottles back into the medicine box until you need them, or skip this step all together.
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Closet and Medicine Cabinet Storage
For storage that won’t fit in the med box, my husband installed an outdoor door knob on our hallway closet, so the closet has a key. My mom’s husband joking said once when he came to visit and needed an extra towel for a shower, “You are the only people I know who lock up their bathroom towels.”
You might notice we also keep the computers in this closet. They are locked when not in use and at night.
This is my medicine cabinet. I wanted to feel like a somewhat normal human and have my own stuff where I keep my own stuff. (Allow me these small luxuries.) So this is how our bathroom medicine cabinet is locked. It’s one of those tri-fold ones so took my husband a bit of rigging to make work:
You might think we are extreme, but our bedroom door also has an outdoor doorknob with a lock and key. (Our bedroom door also has an alarm as do some of the kids’ bedrooms.) People with kids with special needs understand that these are the necessities of this way of life. If there are larger items I need put away for safe keeping, I lock them in my room.
With these tips, now you know how to safely lock away medications in a home. It’s a bit more work, but it’s worth it for your peace of mind and the safety of those you love.
Do you lock medications in your home? What methods do you use?
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