If young children live with you or visit frequently, be aware that some over-the-counter (OTC) medicines come with "easy open" caps that are not child-resistant. Popular pain medicines such as Aleve (naproxen) and Advil (ibuprofen) (Figure 1) and their generic versions (Figure 2) are available with "arthritis caps" that are easy to open. They are intended to be used by adults who have arthritis and may have trouble using their hands to open containers that are child-resistant. However, children can also open the bottles easily, putting them at risk for accidental poisonings.
These medicine bottles with "arthritis caps" are located on store shelves next to the bottles with child-resistant caps. Unsuspecting parents or adults may accidentally select a package with the "arthritis cap" when they intended to purchase the medicine with a child-resistant cap. Once in the home, the medicine may be left accidentally within a child's reach where it can easily be opened.
Here's what you can do to prevent accidental child poisonings with OTC medicines:
- Whenever possible, purchase medicines that have child-resistant caps if you live with or have young children who frequently visit.
- Read package labels carefully to be sure the medicine does not use an "arthritis cap."
- Be sure to store all medicines up and away and out of reach of children, especially if someone in your household needs to use medicine with the arthritis cap.