I have been a KnowYourOTCs (KYOTCs) ambassador most of this year, and a key issue they work to drive home to everyone is that of safe storage of your medicines because kids are kids and they get into everything! Despite knowing this, it happened to me when my daughter got into my depression meds and can happen to you as well.
Last week Monday, my son ran up to our room as I was getting ready for the day and he had in his hand my medicine box. He said “Lucía had this…” My heart stopped. My daughter gets into everything and anything, so I knew should would have given it a quick taste. I quickly took it and looked to see if anything was missing. I saw two bright colored pills in their original box and breathed a sigh of relief.
Related Post: Safe Medicine Storage in Your Home
That evening, my husband came to me with two empty capsules split in half and tiny teeth marks on each. My heart stopped again. This time I couldn’t breathe, my body went numb and my head started to pound. He had been sweeping up after dinner and saw tiny white pellets on the floor and the capsules in the corner. My 2 1/2 year old had in fact got hold of two capsules. That’s when I realized I had put in two extra ones and hadn’t noticed them missing earlier that day.
If she had taken any amount in the morning she would have been lethargic during the day. None of which she was. When I picked her up from daycare she happily bounced over to me and her teachers did not report anything unusual.
Related Post: Learn to Read Drug Fact Labels
If she had taken it within last hour she could experience irregular heart beat and possible seizure. Could she have saved the capsules from the morning and opened them tonight?! A dose of 37.5 mg could be lethal for a child her age. I was starting to get dressed to go to the emergency room and trying to keep calm while replaying the events in my head.
We noticed the living room carpet was full of tiny pellets — they had spilled there too. As ridiculous as it sounds, I simply asked her if she had taken them. She looked at me and said “sí, mami.” Of course that didn’t help or answer the real question, because she had opened them.
Piecing it all together, we came to the conclusion that:
- She did in fact play with/open the capsules in the morning and not within the last hour.
- She hadn’t had any of the symptoms described to me by Poison Control; reducing the risk of her having ingested any amount.
- The amount of pellets we swept up pretty much filled both capsules.
- Lastly, without making her feel as if she’d done something wrong and hoping to get as close to a truthful answer as possible, I asked “Were the medicines yummy?” to which she yelled out and motioned with her hands, “No, mami. Yucky!” making a spitting sound and motioning how she had in fact tried it and had spat it out.
My husband and I concluded that she had not taken any amount and that she wasn’t in harms way.
However, every child and situation is different, so please please don’t hesitate to call Poison Control, get your facts in order and head to the emergency room if you have any doubts. Up & Away is a fantastic resource for tips on safe storage — one that I’ve written about before.
Keep in mind that during the holidays, grandparents may be coming to visit and you will be visiting others’ homes (and vice versa), so make sure you clear out meds within reach and ask them to put them away.
I thought my home was med-proof, but all it takes is one time of leaving your bag or meds within reach and the little ones make a made dash.
Remember, all parents and guardians of children need to store their meds UP, AWAY and OUT OF SIGHT and save the Poison Control number to your phone.