/ Charles Wollertz

A study in the March issue of Pediatrics revealed a frightening statistic: The number of children’s hospital intensive care admissions for opioid overdoses doubled between 2004 and 2015 nationally. Although most hospital stays reported were kids between 12 and 17, 1/3 of all hospitalizations were kids younger than age 6. Here’s what you can do to protect your family:

• If you’re being treated for chronic pain, discuss options with your doctor. Research indicates medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen are just as effective as opioids.

• Keep track of your meds. That means child-protective caps, safety latches or locked cabinets. Ask friends, family and babysitters to do the same.

• Discard unused meds. Return leftovers to a hospital, doctor’s office or pharmacy, or watch for countywide take-back events.

• Talk to your kids. Those who learn the risks are less likely to use drugs than those who don’t.