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Easily Organize the Family Medicine Cabinet

There was a time, pre-kids, when a bottle of asprin and a roll of Tums were all our household needed in the way of medicines. The seasonal cold would occasionally warrant a trip to the drugstore for cough medicine – back when you could buy it directly off the shelf – and we could contain it all in the kitchen junk drawer along with the few batteries we needed for the television remote and the flashlight (ah, the battery needs were so simple then).

Then the daycare years began and suddenly every bug that got into the classroom had to run its course among our whole family. The drug cabinet became more sophisticated overnight; now we needed both adult and child versions of each medicine, then junior dosages along with a multitude of prescriptions in every dispensible manner: drops, creams, solutions and syrups. Boo-boos also required bandages, preferably of the cartoon character variety.

Clearly the kitchen junk drawer was no longer an option. Besides the sheer volume of medications, a new factor to consider was accessibility. Meds had to be well out of reach of the children but easily accessible to the parents. As every BirmimghamMom knows, she is most likely to be searching for a fever reducer between one and three a.m. (There is also a temporarily berserk moment at 7:15 a.m. when a sleep-deprived mom wonders whether she can tuck a couple of Tylenol melts into her kid’s cheeks and still send them to school…but she usually snaps out of it.)

These little three-drawer units have kept the family stash organized through every fever virus, ear infection, and episode of poison ivy. They are around $8 at Target or Wal-Mart and are deep enough to hold a full-size bottle of pain reliever, cough syrup, or an aerosol can such as Dermoplast or Solarcaine. Each drawer can be fully removed so Mom can take the entire “fever” drawer to the bedside to take a temp and administer medicine or take the “bandage” drawer to the fallen victim to clean and dress the wound.

The drawers can be put back in place just as easily and are top-drawer dishwasher safe if something spills. Obviously they must be placed out of reach of the kids - on a high shelf in a linen closet, for example -  and any serious prescription medications should be kept in a more secure place. Labels for each drawer make finding the appropriate medication much easier and will ease your mind incase a babysitter were to call needing a medicine or bandage for your child before you can get home.

Be sure to store a thermometer with the fever reducer and the antibacterial spray or ointment with the bandages. Consider keeping the kids’ bandage drawer separate from the regular bandage drawer so you’ll know when you need more cartoon bandages and Dad (or your 12-year-old) can avoid the indignity of having to leave the house in a Dora the Explorer bandage.