New Zealand parent’s perceptions of the use and safety of over the counter liquid analgesics
Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate the knowledge of parents and caregivers with respect to the purchase, use and storage of liquid analgesics purchased over the counter (OTC) from pharmacies. This would enable specific strategies to be identified to increase awareness of the potential risks of these products.
Methods: Questionnaires were developed and used a combination of Likert Scales, open ended questions and yes/no answers. Randomly chosen New Zealand pharmacies (463) were asked to approach a person purchasing liquid analgesics and ask them to complete the questionnaire. Of the 105 pharmacies that participated, 96 completed parent/caregiver questionnaires were returned.
Results: When choosing a product there was a statistically significant difference between the most important factors ‘safety’ and ‘active ingredient’ and the least important factors ‘cost’ and if the parent/caregiver ‘used it before’. All parents/caregivers claim to have received verbal information from pharmacy staff, with 40% stating that they ‘always’ receive information. The majority of parents/caregivers store medicines in a high place (n=61), in a cupboard (n=56) or a combination of these. Over half (52%) of the parents/caregivers thought that children could ‘never’ open child resistant closures.
Conclusion: Whilst parents and caregivers choose products based on perceived safety, there is an over estimation in the perception of the protection that a child resistant closure actually offers. The general public needs to continually be vigilant in the use, storage and administration when using medication in the vicinity of children.
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