An image of many pills, illustrating over the counter medicine safety

OTC Medicine Safety is a 100% free, evidence-based set of resources designed to empower adults to facilitate critical medicine safety discussions with pre-adolescents and adolescents.

Parents play a critical role in helping their tweens learn about over the counter medicine safety. With approximately 10,000 kids under age 18 visiting emergency departments every year due to errors from self-administering OTC medications, it is important for parents and guardians to discuss the safe use and storage of OTC medicines with their tweens. The OTC Medicine Safety program equips parents, teachers, and guardians with the necessary materials to help facilitate these critical conversations.

  • Be sure to read and follow the medicine label every time.
  • Be sure never to share your medicine with someone else or use someone else’s medicine.
  • Remember to always use the dosing device that comes with the medicine.
  • Take only one medicine at a time with the same active ingredient.
  • Store all medicines up and away and out of reach and sight.
  • Be sure to only take medicines with the permission and guidance from a parent or trusted adult.

Below are medicine safety guidelines from the OTC Medicine Safety program. Teach these practices to your tweens to encourage lifelong safe use of all medicines. More tips for parents and caregivers on starting this critical conversation can be found here.
The OTC Medicine Safety program includes resources and engaging educational activities specifically designed for parents and teachers of tweens to increase knowledge of OTC medicine safety and responsible use. The program places special emphasis on the message that tweens should only take OTC medicines with the permission and supervision of parents or guardians. The program has been customized for teachers, nurses, families, and communities, in addition to offering several extra resources to enhance learning, like videos, a digital story book, an interactive Home Hazards game, and a family guide.

Want to share this terrific resource on social media? Make sure you use #OTCed! The Over The Counter Medicine Safety program is sponsored by Johnson and Johnson Consumer Inc.


Poster: “What’s on the Label?”