Keeping Your Medications Child-Safe

Keeping your medications and medical supplies safe from falling into the wrong hands is a priority. Children need to be protected from possible harm, but they’re not the only ones. Medications can pose a threat to adults who have compromised health, memory issues, or a history of drug misuse.

While it’s advisable to take precautions, realize that no storage system is full-proof. Any reputable pharmacist will point out child-resistant doesn’t mean child-proof. Adult supervision is still needed. Nevertheless, there are things you can do to securely store your medications and medical supplies and keep those around you safe.

Options for keeping your medications child-safe

There are several types of containers that can be used to securely store medications and medical supplies. The links below show a sampling of the types of storage devices available.

Medication lockboxes

These metal lockboxes are for storing medications and medical supplies. They’re available in a variety of sizes and can have either a key or combination lock. Some are clearly labeled as containing medication.

Lockmed home medication lock box
This lockbox comes with predrilled holes making it easy to secure to a shelf with screws. It also is vented so it can be placed in a refrigerator to keep medications cool.

Pill organizers
Some pill organizers have a locking mechanism built-in, making them harder to open. The compartments in these organizers are sized for pills, so they are too small to hold any medical supplies.

Take six pill bottle
This pill organizer comes with a child-resistant lid. To open this container requires the familiar press-and-turn motion used with a standard pill bottle. The compartments can be used to sort medications either by dose or type of pill. And it’s small enough to easily fit in a purse or backpack, making it portable.

Pharmadose pill planner
Opening the locking mechanism on this device works by pressing a tab while pulling out a panel. This is a more difficult maneuver than the press-and-turn used with a pill bottle. This motion can be difficult for people with limited fine motor skills. The container is a square grid divided into enough compartments for up to four doses over seven days.

Locking bags

Made from fabric these zippered soft-sided bags include some kind of locking mechanism. They come is a variety of sizes—from a small cosmetics bag to a large laptop-sized bag. Most are tear-resistant, water-resistant and lightly padded, offering a little extra protection for the medications and medical supplies inside. Depending on the materials used, a locking bag can also provide insulation to keep temperature-sensitive medications safe.

Vaulz locking zipper pouch
This bag is the size of a cosmetics bag and has a combination lock built in its zipper pull. You can set the combination.

Medication bag with a key lock
This small bag has a key lock built into the zipper pull. To open it, you'll need to keep the key handy.

Juno childsafe bag
This bag uses a squeeze mechanism to keep the zipper shut. No key or combination. Squeeze two buttons simultaneously and the zipper head is released from the lock. It takes some strength and coordination to open the locking mechanism.

Lunch locka
This insulated lunch bag includes a small combination lock that attaches to the loops in the tabs of their double zippers. If you have an insulated cooler with a double zipper you can put your own one together by adding a small luggage lock.

Choose the secure storage option that works best for you

A range of storage options are available to help keep your medications and medical supplies more secure. Consider what your needs are when deciding what to use. Do you need something that can be fixed to a shelf or does it need to be portable? Do your meds need to be kept cool or dry? What kind of locking mechanism do you trust most. And which kind of lock is easiest for you to use? Between home and work, you may find that you need more than one kind of storage. There are plenty of options to choose from.

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