Warning: Our 1yo Got into RX Medication and So Can Yours

by MyDadBlog on March 6, 2011

in Advice,Child Safety

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This isn’t the type of thing a parent normally wants to publicize on the internet, but given the circumstances and how “protected” we thought we were from this type of event, I would be remiss to NOT highlight what happened to us and how it can happen to you too. The other day, my wife was putting away laundry and doing some stuff on the second floor while our 1 year old daughter was wandering around.  For a few minutes, she’d help my wife fold clothes and put them away, then she’d wander off to her brothers’ rooms, come back, etc.  This is the normal routine.  Well, when she wandered off for more than a couple minutes, my wife went to check on what she was up to and she was chewing away on Rx medication!  Here’s how it happened.

Multiple Layers of Protection were Inadequate

When our first son was born, I immediately installed child-safety locks on multiple cabinet doors – any cabinet that would house either chemicals, medication or the typical stuff you keep under sinks in bathrooms and kitchens.  The way the locks work, you can only pull the door out about 1.5 inches until the lock catches on the underside of the cabinet.  You then stick your finger in to detach the lock and open it up.  While this measure had always kept our boys out, our daughter figured this out in short order and was able to pull the door open the small amount, reach her hand in and pull out a bottle of Asthma medication.

Next, all medications come with child-resistant protective twist off lids, right?  This particular one sure did.  I recall even reading stories about how these measures turn off seniors with arthritis because they have trouble getting the tops off since you have to push and twist at the same time.  Amazingly, she got the top off that bottle as well. She was about 8 tablets in thinking they were candy presumably.

We Were Lucky

My wife immediately called poison control and it turns out we were quite lucky.  The medication was for one of our sons, so it was a low dose to begin with.  It was up for renewal in about 10 days too, so we were able to discern how many tablets were left (knowing he hadn’t missed a dose this month).  So, it was estimated at 8.  Poison control indicated they wouldn’t be concerned with anything less than a dozen even at her size.  Perhaps just a bit of hyperactivity.  It’s now been over a week and it’s evident she wasn’t harmed.  But it gave us one of the worst scares we’ve ever had with our kids (yes, worse has happened amazingly – for another post).

The Solution

Well, since our daughter has proven her ambition to get into medicine against formidable odds, we’ve now purchased a small lock box.  We have all medications in the lockbox IN the locked cabinet with the key in a separate spot.  There’s no way she can pull an entire lock box out a 1.5″ crack and after that, she’d have to figure out where the key is and open the box.  Now we feel we’re adequately protected, but in all honesty, I never would have assumed a 1 year old could get a child-resistant cap off.  So, be warned.  You may want to do the same upon reading this.

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