Our Experience with Medicine Poisoning… and What You Can do to Prevent It

It was a day in August just before Raileigh turned two years old.  I was at home with Raileigh nursing an awful migraine.  Darren was volunteering at a local children’s consignment sale {a shift I had committed to before the migraine struck}.

I had taken my go-to migraine medicine, Excedrin Migraine, to try and get rid of the awful headache and was resting in our living room.  Raileigh was playing in our dining room, just a few feet away, inside a pop-up play tent.

All at once it struck me how quiet she was being.  My child chatters constantly, and quiet for her is… well… odd.  I got up to peek in the tent and see what she was up to.  I suspected that she’d fallen asleep for an unplanned nap.

Instead, I found my daughter holding the bottle of Excedrin Migraine, top off.  There were a few pills scattered on the floor.  She looked up at me and said “candy!”.  I’m sure I gasped, and quickly grabbed the bottle from her.  The bottle had been almost full when I placed it on our dining room table.  Now, it was less than half full.

I panicked.  I called my mother, hysterical.  She lived nearby, and was instantly in her car to come and take us to the emergency room.  I also called Darren to meet us at the hospital.

We loaded Raileigh in the car, grabbed the bottle and remaining medicine and set out for the 10 minute drive to the hospital.  It was the longest drive of my life.  I was scared.  I was angry at myself.  And, all the while I was trying to be strong because I didn’t want to upset my sweet little girl.

Upon arrival, we were immediately rushed back.  They did tests.  The drew blood.  The doctors were in constant contact with Poison Control.  They pumped my daughter’s stomach.  It was truly, truly an awful thing to witness.

Through all of this, we prayed.  We prayed for the safety and well-being of my little girl.  The crowd of people that had gathered in the waiting room did the same.  And, we waited to hear what damage had been done.

After 6 hours in the emergency room, we were able to go home.  There was not one negative side effect of all the medicine I know my daughter ingested.  It was truly a miracle. 

Even though my daughter was fine, this is a day that will forever be etched in my mind as one of the worst days of my life.  I can still see the look on her face as they pumped her tiny stomach.  It’s an image I would give anything to erase, but it will never go away.

I would love to have a re-do, take the day away, and go back in time to prevent such a thing from happening.  I spent months being angry at myself.  After all, it is my fault that she even had access to the bottle of migraine medicine.  Reliving one of my worst moments hurts a lot.  I cannot think of this day without shedding many tears.

But today, I am here, typing through tears to tell you our story.  Because though I am not proud of what happened, I know that it is important to share it with you.  If it will remind just one of you to think twice about where you set down that bottle of medicine, then it is worth it.  If it prevents just one child from experiencing an accidental overdose, then I am glad.

Safe Kids Worldwide is on a mission to help prevent children from getting into medicine they shouldn’t and also promoting proper dosing of prescribed medications.  Just look at these statistics:

They are alarming.  And, I know all too well how quickly your own child can be on of the 67,000 children seen in an emergency room each year for medical poisoning.

So… what can you do to prevent it?

  • Put the medicine away after EVERY use– out of sight.
  • This means ALL medicine, including vitamins, eye drops, and other things you may not normally consider “medicine”
  • Carefully read labels to ensure that you administer the proper dose
  • Be mindful of medicine any guests to your home may bring with them

I also invite you to watch this short video, which contains even more information about safe storage, safe dosing, and safe kids:

I would never wish the experience that my family had with accidental overdose due to medicine being not put away on anyone.  I urge you to be cautious with your medications and make sure that they are always, ALWAYS out of your children’s reach.

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Safe Kids Worldwide and I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.