Inside: This is another post in my In Case of Emergency series for mothers.
A dear school friend of mine had to get her stomach pumped at a young age after ingesting some of her parents pills.
She was fine and it ended well, but what a massive shock.
But really, the truth is, this is a fairly common occurrence. We all know little ones are curious and, in a flash, can get into something that didn’t seem like a hazard before that very moment.
According to the CHPA Educational Foundation, around 60,000 children are brought to the emergency room each year because they got into medicine left within reach or sight. That’s the bad news.
The good news is this… with a tad bit of forethought we can lower the odds dramatically and keep our children safe, especially while traveling.
How To Keep Your Little Ones Safe While Traveling
At home, we’ve probably got good systems that keep medicines out of reach and safe. We don’t need to take them out of the child safety containers since we can store them easily. When we travel, however, some of the same precautions don’t really occur to us. Here are some easy things we can do to keep our kids safe while traveling.
These tips are primarily for families with children aged 0-3 in which accidental ingestions are the most common.[\mffh-box]
Use Original Packaging
When possible, it’s always best to keep pills in original packaging as these are normally child resistant. Personally, I find them so child resistant they’re nearly Rachel proof. If there is room in your suitcase, leave pills in the original containers. If you’re flying this is also encouraged.
Taking pills out and keeping them in Ziploc bags or even a pill box (as pictured below) will make for easy access for little ones.
If you have so many pills this is unrealistic, be sure to store the pills in a location that is not accessible to children. This means no counter tops, bedside tables, or your purse. The temptation to keep pills in your purse is great since that means they are “close by” but they are also great sources of curiosity to little hands.
Keep Medication Out Of Sight
Whether you use original packaging or not, keep medications out of sight. If little ones can’t see it, they won’t reach for it. This can be tricky if you leave pills in sight as a visual cue to take them (this works best for me), but it’s not worth the risk.
Put a reminder on your phone or write yourself an old-fashioned note even if they are in child resistant containers.
House Guest? Have A Chat With Your Host
If you’re going to stay with someone who does not have small children (or who has never had children) then have a quick conversation. Ask if they can make sure that all medications are out of reach, out of sight, and not accessible.
This request will usually be met with a resounding, “Of course!” because it’s an easy thing to do that saves mamas a lot of worry.
Be Candid About Medicine
This is an important point I hadn’t thought about until I read more information from the CHPA Educational Foundation, but don’t convince your children to take pills by calling them candy.
It might seem like a simple thing in the moment, and you probably don’t think your children even believe you, but it’s much better to be honest with children about medicine from the beginning.
When I was a teenager…
When I was a teenager I realized that 3 days had gone by without taking some of my medicine. So I took 4 days worth of pills at once. Because, you know, in the spirit of what would make an excellent memoir title…
“It seemed like a good idea at the time.”
My mom immediately called the poison hotline and they were able to search by the dosage plus the type of medicine and, thankfully, I was fine.
Odds are, your kids will never get into any medicine that could harm them.
But, we can greatly decrease those odds, by taking the precautions mentioned above.