Last night was very frightening. I actually wasn't going to write about it, to spare the grandparents from worry, but there are some important lessons that must be shared, if only to serve as reminders to other parents (or even people who are ever around children).
Both girls take allergy medicine daily. Emma takes Clariten tablets, and Sophie takes a generic syrup form of Zyrtec. Monday Emma had opened a new bottle and Sophie thought it was food to be eaten, and kept asking for it. "Want eat!" and pointing to it repeatedly. She even brought me her medicine spoon from the kitchen drawer, asking for some of her sister's medicine. I kept telling her no, it's medicine, not candy, and she would get her medicine at bedtime like usual.
Yesterday evening, she was able to reach the pill bottle from the kitchen counter and brought it to me, again asking for some. I told her no, and gave it to Emma, telling her to put it away in the cabinet where it belongs (and way out of reach).
A short time later, I sat down at my computer (a rarity anymore!) while waiting for the meatballs to cook and the water to boil. Emma was on the couch, and we were watching a show we had recorded. I hear her ask Sophie what she's doing, then hear "Oh my goodness NO Sophie!" The bottle had not been put away, but laid down on a side table, and Sophie had gotten off the childproof (um... no) lid and was chewing away at several tablets. I quickly began scraping pulverized pills out of her mouth, as I mentally ran through my options. My first thought was the ER. My second thought was the pediatrician's nurse line, which I actually dialed but hung up before leaving my callback number. I considered 911, but wanted to skip the ambulance unless necessary. I needed advice. My next thought was the poison control center. But what was the number?
I used my phone to look up the number, and took the pill bottle from Emma. I took Sophie to the bathroom and was using her toothbrush to get more crushed pills from her teeth. I had no idea how many she had ingested.
A very helpful and calm gentleman took my call. He reassured me that of all the medications she could ingest, the Clariten was "not horrible." The tablets are only 10 mg each, and since Emma had just opened the bottle the night before and luckily counted as she picked up the spilled pills from the floor, she could tell me exactly how many Sophie had chewed. I was advised to give her something to eat and drink, and watch her over the next four hours for excess drowsiness or vomiting, neither of which happened thank goodness. I was so afraid that we'd have to rush her to the hospital to have her stomach pumped, so I was incredibly relieved. Actually, I was so relieved she wasn't dying that I didn't even think to ask him about her own bedtime dose of Zyrtec! I decided to skip it for the night, though, although the Clariten did nothing for her allergies last night. In fact, her nose seemed to run more than usual! She didn't seem to have any side effects, and was perfectly normal this morning.
Now, the lessons. Remember these!
1. Know the Poison Control Center phone number. Save it in your cell phone (I did this afterward). Post it on your refrigerator and in your medicine cabinet. If you have a landline, tape it to the phone. 1-800-222-1222
2. Don't count on childproof bottles to be childproof. Little fingers are very dexterous.
3. ALWAYS always always keep dangerous things put up high, higher than you think they need to be.
4. Don't assume your older child did as she was told right away. Kids often have the "it's no big deal, I'll get around to it" attitude. In this case, it WAS a big deal.