When I was between 9 and 10 years old, I treated my little sister like she was my baby. She was around 2 to 3 years old and I decided one day that I could give her the medicine she needed for her aching legs. I had watched my mom give her a baby aspirin many times and I knew what they looked like. I knew she only needed one little pink pill and that she could chew them up. I plopped that cutie patootie little girl up on the counter and gave her the pink pill. A split second later, she was yelling and crying and spitting it back out, telling me that it was "hot" and she didn't want it. My mom heard her from the next room over and came to check on us. It turns out that there was a different pink pill in a similar bottle on the counter and I had not given her a baby aspirin. Thankfully, this was a small mistake and my sister didn't swallow any of the medicine. I can't remember what the pill actually was, but it wasn't anything particularly harmful. We gave her water to swish in her mouth and spit back out and all was good.
Needless to say, this incident sticks in my head all the time when I give my own son his medicine. I always keep his medicines in a separate location in the house from mine and my husband's medications. I also always check and double check doses when I give him medication.
When my boy is ill
Recently my boy was very sick with a cough and cold, as well as allergies and slight fever. Because I know how all of that feels, I have even more compassion when I see him all watery-eyed and red-faced. I debate with myself over cough and cold medicine, allergy medicine, fever reducer, and then home remedies such as cool baths or using the humidifier. This week I have been sick with the same problems and developed bacterial infections as well and even my own illness has me wondering what medicines to take and what doses. It is difficult to gauge how much is enough and how much is too much because there are no medications that will help with every symptom all at once.
Thankfully, I do have a sister who is a pharmacy tech and she is always willing to help me decipher what medications I can give my boy for his age and weight. If she doesn't know the answer, she will talk to her pharmacist for me and the two of them will let me know if visiting the doctor is the best plan.
500,000 Times Each Year a Child gets into Medicine or gets the Wrong Dose
Awareness and Prevention
Safe Kids Worldwide conducted an in-depth analysis to help educate parents during National Poison Prevention Week (March 17-23) about the importance of proper medicine storage, dosage, and disposal. To share these insights, the organization compiled practical tips to help families prevent accidental medicine poisoning. Some of these tips to keep our children safe both inside and outside of their home include keeping medicines up and out of sight, being aware of where visitors like grandparents keep their medication, and keeping products you may not initially see as medicine out of reach.
Put medicines up and away and out of sight.
Make sure that all medications, including vitamins and adult medicines, are stored out of reach and out of sight of children. In 86% of emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the child got into medicine belonging to an adult.
Consider products you might not think about as medicines.
Most parents know to store medicine up and away – or at least the products they consider to be medicine. But they don’t always think about products such as eye drops or vitamins, which may not seem like medicine but actually are. Look around your home to see what products are within the reach of children and may be harmful, then move them up and away.
Be alert to visitors’ medicine.
When you have visitors in your home, offer to put purses, bags and coats out of reach of children to protect their property from a curious child. Well meaning visitors may not be thinking about the medicines that they have brought with them in their belongings. In 43% of emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the child got into medicine belonging to a relative, such as an aunt, uncle or grandparent.
Put medicines up and away after EVERY use
It may be tempting to keep medicine close at hand when you need to give another dose of medicine in just a few hours. Accidents can happen fast. It only takes a few seconds for children to get into medicine that could make them very sick. Put medicine up and away after every use. And if you need a reminder, set an alarm on your watch or cell phone, or write yourself a note.
Read the label and know what’s in the medicine.
Take the time to read the label and follow the directions on your child’s medicine. Check the active ingredients listed on the label. Don’t give your child more than one medicine with the same active ingredient. Giving your child two or medicines that have the same active ingredient can put your child at risk for an overdose.
Put the Poison Control number in your home and cell phone: 1-800-222-1222.
You can also put the number on your refrigerator or another place in your home where babysitters can see it.
Safe Storage, Safe Dosing, Safe Kids
Safe Kids Worldwide Medication Safety Infographic
Do you have a story of an accidental dosing that you would like to share? What tips do you have for Medication Safety?
I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Safe Kids Worldwide and I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. All stories and opinions are my own.