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Patient Safety

How to throw away home-generated biomedical waste

Home-generated biomedical waste is any type of syringe, lancet or needle (“sharps”) used in the home to either inject medication or draw blood. Special care must be taken with the disposal of these items to protect you and others from injury, and to keep the environment clean and safe.

If your child’s therapy involves the use of needles, an appropriately sized sharps container will be provided. Please follow these simple rules to ensure your safety during your child’s therapy.


After using your child’s injectable medication, place all needles, syringes, lancets and other sharp objects into a sharps container. Do not dispose of sharps in the trash unless they are contained within a sharps container. Do not flush them down the toilet. If a sharps container is not available, a hard plastic or metal container with a screw-on top or other tightly securable lid (for example, an empty hard can or liquid
detergent container) could be used. Before discarding, reinforce the top with heavy-duty tape. Do not use clear plastic or glass containers. Containers should be no more than three-quarters full.


Check with your local waste collection service or public health department to verify the disposal procedures for sharps containers in your
area. You can also visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Safe Community Needle Disposal website at www.cdc.gov/needledisposal.

Needle-stick safety

  • Never replace the cap on needles.
  • Throw away used needles immediately after use in a sharps disposal container.
  • Plan for the safe handling and disposal of needles before using them.
  • Report all needle stick or sharps-related injuries promptly to your physician.

If your child’s therapy does not involve the use of needles or sharp items

You do not need a sharps container. You should place all other used supplies in a bag you can’t see through. Put this bag inside a second bag, and put this in your garbage with your other trash.

Adverse reactions

If your child is experiencing adverse drug reactions, acute medical symptoms or other problems, you should should contact their primary care provider (PCP), Children’s Hospital Emergency Department or 911.

Hand washing instructions

Infections are serious issues. The best way to make sure your child does not get an infection is to wash your hands often. Remember to always wash your hands before and after you prepare or handle any medication.

  1. Collect the supplies:
    1. Soap.
    2. Paper towels or a clean cloth towel.
  2. Wet your hands with warm water.
  3. Place a small amount of soap on your hands.
  4. Rub your hands briskly together for at least 30 seconds.
  5. Don’t forget about the in-betweens of your fingers.
  6. Rinse your hands with warm water.
  7. Dry your hands with a paper towel or clean cloth towel.
  8. Turn off your faucet with the towel.
  9. If you touch anything (your hair, for example), sneeze into your hands or feel that your hands may no longer be clean, wash your hands again before continuing with your child’s care. If no water supply is available, use an alcohol-based antibacterial hand cleanser.

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