Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Up & Away! (With Those Dang Pills)

NOTE: This post is sponsored by Up and Away, an educational program to remind families of the importance of safe medicine storage, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association Educational Foundation. 

Every once in a while I get to write a sponsored post about something I'd be happy to write about anyway. In this case, it's the importance of keeping medicine up and away from where our kids can find it. This is especially true with caregivers (ahem - Grandma & Grandpa - I am looking at you), houseguests, and visitors. 

Let me tell you about the time I thought my 3 year old ate a month's worth of birth control pills! It was super fun and not stressful at all! 
A couple of years ago we had a house full of guests, including a couple of my younger family members. By "younger" I mean in their 20s (not kids) - so basically, younger and cooler than me. We were all having a great time hanging, out eating delicious food, and running around playing with the kids.

By the third day we were all starting to get a little comfortable. The house (which had been spotless prior to guests arriving) was now a total disaster zone.

Then the toilet broke.

Then the other toilet broke.

All of a sudden it stopped being comfortable and the house, as you might expect, got even messier. Fortunately I have a wonderful general contractor, who heard the panic in my voice on the phone and came over to help me out with the toilets. He stopped around lunch time, when he was between jobs and he had a whole crew with him.

Now my dirty house was filled with houseguests and construction workers!

In the middle of all of this chaos, I realized that I had no idea where my three-year-old was. I started walking around the house calling her name, but heard nothing back. I began to worry as she'd been known to let her self out of the house to go for walks in the neighborhood.

I started yelling "Has anyone seen Mini?! Has anyone seen Mini?!" and everyone just shrugged and said no. (Sidebar: This, by the way, only confirms my theory that the more adults there are in one place, the less safe children tend to be because we all think that someone else is keeping an eye on them. Also, that when you get a bunch of my family together we start to share a brain and get dumber.)

At this point I'm having a panic attack and my heart is beating a hundred miles a minute. At this exact moment, one of my twentysomething houseguests tapped me on the shoulder. I screamed as if I've been attacked by a velociraptor and jumped about 4 feet in the air. Her reaction was to scream louder, because my screaming frightened her.

Everyone in the house came running. I looked at her and said "For the love of God, what is it?!" 

She looked sheepishly at her feet and said quietly "I can't find my birth control pills. And I found my purse dumped out on the floor."

It was at that moment I knew exactly why we couldn't find Mini.

It took about two minutes to find her in one of her favorite hidey holes, in this case in a corner behind a large chair with pillows propped up on both sides to make a kind of a fort. 
There she was with the pack of birth control pills, that she had popped out of the case one by one, and was now playing with on the carpet. She was attempting to feed a blue one to a Barbie. We snatched her up, hugged her perhaps a little too tightly, grabbed the pills, and try to figure out what to do next. 

My mother had the idea to count the number of pills and sort them by color. Thank God it took only a minute to figure out that she hadn't actually eaten any of them, but had only used them as toys.

My poor younger relative was embarrassed and horrified at what had almost happened. Mini has that effect on people. But it really wasn't her fault. The pills had been in her purse. The purse had been unzipped on top of a high dresser. Mini had climbed onto a bed and then climbed onto the dresser and then grabbed the purse, climbed down, dumped it open, and taken the pills to go play with. She did the same thing to my purse all the time to get her hands on my Altoids.

We were so very lucky that we figured out what was going on before any damage was actually done. All in all, it was a good day. The toilets got fixed, the pills got put back in the case, and we ordered Chinese food for dinner.

But now every time someone comes to stay with me I make sure they know that they better lock up their pills because Mini will indeed go through their stuff if something looks interesting.

Check out the campaign's website for their very good advice on how to minimize the chances of your littles getting into trouble with medicines around the house. And please enjoy this infographic that tells us all about how kids and medications don't go together:

Up and Away is an educational program to remind families of the importance of safe medicine storage. It is an initiative of the PROTECT Initiative, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association Educational Foundation. I am being compensated for this blog post but my opinions are all my own.

(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013-2014

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  1. You will be pleased to know that so long as they aren't the kind with iron in them, the birth control pills will do them no harm. Even if they eat a three month supply. Why do I know? Because I had to make that exact phone call to poison control.
    So I feel your pain.

  2. I've heard the story many times of how one of my brothers stole my dad's headache pills. They found him with the empty pill container & rushed him to the hospital. His stomach was pumped to find... grape juice. Lots of grape juice. Later they figured out that he had dumped the pills in the heating duct.

    After that, all medicines were kept high & out of reach.

    Thanks for the PSA today!

  3. Medicine for kids that tastes "better" is a blessing and a curse. My cousin once grabbed and ate almost an entire container of Flintstones vitamins. I remember loving the taste of orange baby aspirin.

    Thanks for this... it is very important.

  4. I still remember when my younger brother and sister were found playing in the guest room with my grandfather's blood pressure medicine poured out on the bed all around them. I might have been 10 and I still remember them being in the hospital (at Christmas) and my sister's charcoal filled diapers when they came home and the adults major anxiety around if they would be ok (I think they didn't end up actually eating any but had to be treated and monitored anyway). My parents were really good about locking up all the medicine in the house and keeping as high up and out of reach as possible but my siblings were just little houdinis who managed to find the only pills left slightly in reach by a houseguest. After this incident my mom found a lockbox that can only be opened with an adult's finger to keep in the guest room for any medication an adult brought with them. Now that I'm thinking about it I should probably find something similar since even though I have child locks on the non child proofed rooms, my in laws are particularly bad about closing the doors!

  5. I'm super strict about hiding my meds, but it is amazing how often I will go to people's houses (I'm looking at you Nanna) and find a whole chemists worth of medication out of the box at eye level to my toddler. They had two days notice to put all that away!
    These are always the same people who accuse you of 'hovering' if tell them it's not safe, yet will blame you for not watching your kid if they go near the table full of heart medication that looks like candy.
    Keep it out of reach! If there is a kid in the house you take responsibility for keeping that kid safe from your stuff!




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