It’s not candy!

I’m reminded today of why baby-proofing your house is so important.

But let me start by saying that we didn’t really baby-proof our house before daughter arrived.  Oh, sure we covered the electrical outlets, but that was pretty much all we did.  We never put up gates, we didn’t put locks on the cabinets until she was about 2 years old and started opening them.  Our medicines were always tucked away in a cabinet above the sink.  When daughter sees me taking an Advil for migraines she always wants one.  I tell her it’s medicine for mommy, but she insists it’s candy.  It never really occurred to me that as a child, grown-up medicines look like candy!  Damn those pharmaceutical companies!

I arrived in my office this morning at 9:55am.   My 10 am patient was waiting for me and as I’m getting the EMR running, I notice I have an “add-on” at 9:45am.  The reason for visit – “possibly swallowed allergy meds”.  Child’s age – 9.5 months.

I’m sure the parents in the audience can totally relate to this story. I certainly can.  Father takes his allergy pill, caps the bottle (he thinks), 9.5 month old is crawling around him, he and mother are busy running around getting ready for their day.  Child somehow gets a hold of the bottle, starts shaking it like a rattle, then there’s silence.  Parents find bottle emptied of its contents and child playing around it.   Panic ensues.  Did child eat a pill?  Did he eat 5?

Thankfully, parent brought the bottle with him.  It was Benadryl.  I quickly called Poison Control.  There was no evidence of pill residue in the child’s mouth, she was alert and quite active.  The woman from Poison Control reviewed the over-dose information with me and we quickly surmised that the child would have had to ingest 3-5 pills to cause enough concern and if that was the case, there would definitely be signs of residue in her mouth. In all likelihood the child didn’t ingest anything.  Parent was reassured and instructions given when to seek further medical attention. Parent also went home with a minor scolding — put all medications away as soon as you’re done with them!

Lesson learned.