One mother's nightmare ... and a warning for all moms.
Momlogic's Julie: One of the scariest days of my life, and certainly my lowest moment as a mother, came when my daughter, then 18 months, walked into my bedroom holding out a handful of my husband's prescription pills. I remember screaming "Ohmigod, ohmigod!" and sticking my fingers in her mouth, where I found at least five soggy green capsules. I had no idea if she'd swallowed one or not ... and at that point, I had no idea what the pills even were. I rushed into the kitchen and found they were Naproxen, a very strong anti-inflammatory medication. My husband had accidentally left the half-opened bottle on the kitchen cabinet before he went to work, and she somehow grabbed the bottle while I was tending to my son in the other room.
I called Poison Control immediately. They said if she swallowed a capsule, she'd be violently throwing up within a half hour. At that time, I should take her to the ER to get her stomach pumped. But if she didn't throw up, that meant she hadn't swallowed one.
Those were the worst 30 minutes of my life. Thankfully, the nausea never came ... and I had definitely dodged a bullet. But many kids aren't so lucky. Some 9,179 toddlers and kids under age six were exposed to widely prescribed drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and methadone between January 2003 and June 2006, according to a report published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.
Exposures ranged from a pill snatched quickly from a kid's mouth to actual ingestion, said Dr. Richard C. Dart, medical director for the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver, and a co-author of the report.
Eight children died, 43 suffered life-threatening injuries or serious disabilities and 214 required prolonged medical treatment, all because they mistakenly took strong medications belonging to their parents, grandparents and other adults.
"For opioids, really, one pill is enough," said Dart. "One pill can kill or at least cause major effects."
That's why parents have to be extra careful not to drop pills on the floor, or leave them where kids can reach them.
Have you ever had any close calls?