What parents and caregivers need to know about marijuana
Children's Hospital Colorado is dedicated to keeping kids healthy and safe. This includes protecting children from the negative impacts of marijuana, which was legalized for medical use in 2000 and for recreational use in 2012.
One of the consequences of marijuana legalization has been the unintentional ingestion of marijuana products by young children. This often happens when parents are not looking and marijuana products have been stored unsafely or left within reach of a child. The result can be a visit to the emergency department.
If you have marijuana in your home, take the below precautions to ensure the safety of your children and young visitors to your home:
- Keep marijuana up and away, and out of sight from curious children.
- Pick a place your children cannot reach. Any kind of medicine or vitamin can cause harm if taken in the wrong way, even medicine you can buy without a prescription. Walk around your house and find a storage place too high for a child to reach or see. This is also important to remember when families are away from home and staying in hotels, or as guests in others’ homes.
- Put marijuana away every time. Never leave it out on a kitchen counter or at a bedside, even if you anticipate using it again in a few hours. Always put every marijuana product and other medicine away every time you use it, including those you use every day.
- Consider purchasing a medication lock box. Children, even young children, can easily access marijuana products in their original packaging. A lock box provides a safe, convenient and affordable method for securing marijuana products in the home or while traveling. Children’s Colorado believes everyone has a responsibility to safeguard their medicines and marijuana products, and protect children from gaining access to potentially harmful substances.
- Talk to your children about marijuana. As with all medicines and marijuana products, teach your children about medicine safety. Tell your children what medicine is and why you must be the one to handle it. Learn more about how to talk to kids about marijuana.
- Tell guests about marijuana safety. Ask houseguests and visitors to keep purses, bags, or coats that have marijuana products in them up and away and out of sight when they are in your home. If you use a babysitter, choose those who are mature, trained and responsible, and are recommended by someone you trust.
- Ask other parents if they have marijuana products in their home before sending your child to play a neighbor or classmate’s house. If the answer is yes, make sure that all products are stored up and away and out of children’s sight. Because it can be difficult to ask people about this, try including the question along with other things you might normally discuss before sending your child to someone’s home, such as seat belts, animals, or allergies.
- Be prepared in case of an emergency. Call the Poison Help Center at 800-222-1222 right away if you think your child might have consumed marijuana products. Program the number into your home and cell phones so you will have it when you need it.
If you have marijuana in your home, make it a priority to ensure that your child’s home environment is safe from preventable incidents that may result from ingestion of products intended for adults.
SOURCE: This information was adapted from Up and Away.