Every single day I pray the same exact prayer for my family. “Dear God, please keep Jeremy, Brecken, Annabelle and I SAFE, HEALTHY and HAPPY.” I pray other prayers as well, but this is a consistent prayer I have been saying since Brecken was born. I think this is a typical hope for parents-to want their children to be safe, healthy and happy. Parents do everything they can to ensure their children are safe. We have security systems, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors. We have baby gates and cabinet locks and we cut up their food extra small. Keeping my children safe is my top priority. But sometimes as parents we make mistakes. And it isn’t for lack of love or effort, it is because we are human.
Yesterday, Jeremy was off of work and we were enjoying our day. Annabelle was playing in the playroom and Jeremy, Brecken and I were in the living room. She walked in about 4 minutes after I had last seen her and she was carrying an open bottle of adult extra strength Tylenol. Jeremy immediately grabbed the bottle and she had one pill in her other hand. He smelled her breath to see if it smelled like medicine. We also looked to see if there was any white residue surrounding her mouth. As Jeremy was doing this I called my older sister Amanda right away. She works as the Director of Nursing at the hospital in our home town. She gave me the number for Poison Control and suggested I call them right away.
I called Poison Control and was not put on hold, but answered right away which I appreciated. I told the lady what we experienced and she asked us how old Annabelle was and how much she weighed. Because Annabelle is 19 lbs, she said that if she had 3.5 tablets of the 500 mg Tylenol or more, it would be considered an emergency situation. We did not think Annabelle would eat the medicine because it would taste really bad, but we had no way of knowing because it wasn’t a new bottle so we couldn’t count to make sure all pills were accounted for. Poison Control said that because it was Tylenol there would be no symptoms for up to 8 hours after ingesting it, and then, if she had eaten 3.5 tablets or more she would start having liver and kidney issues. They suggested we call our doctor’s office and ask them how to proceed.
I called our doctor’s office and the nurse said that the doctor recommended we go get Annabelle’s blood drawn just to be 100% sure that she didn’t ingest any Tylenol. Jeremy and I personally hate getting our blood drawn. Brecken has had to get his drawn once. And Annabelle has had to get her blood drawn numerous times due to RSV when she was 14 days old and high fevers as a young baby. When Annabelle was only a month and a half old we spent a very hard night in the ER where it took them 45 minutes to get a blood draw from her. Then they had to do an X Ray and a Spinal. Because of all of these reasons I absolutely HATE for Annabelle to have to get her blood drawn. But I knew the only way to be 100% confident she hadn’t eaten any Tylenol, was to have them draw her blood.
We are so blessed to have a great lab team at our local hospital. And because we live in a small town, I know the team well and feel confident in their abilities. I also know that they care for my family and my children and want to be as gentle and pain free as possible. They were able to draw her lab in what was probably 30-90 seconds. Annabelle got very upset, but my sister Amanda was able to come in halfway through, after getting out of a meeting, and that helped distract her and helped her settle down.
We received word from our clinic that her levels were normal which was a huge blessing. By this point it was 4:30pm, with her walking in with the Tylenol bottle at 10:30am, so I had been nervous about the situation for a big chunk of the day.
So what is the point of this post? I want to encourage every household who has children as visitors or residents, to go around and make sure that all medications or toxic materials are either out of reach or locked up. During the summer season this is so important because there are outdoor and garage materials that are especially dangerous and should be out of reach. Though yesterday was a scary experience, it encouraged Jeremy and I to go around and put everything dangerous out of reach and increase the safety of our household.
Up and Away and Out of Sight is an educational program to remind families about the importance of safe medicine storage and is an initiative in partnership with the Center for Disease Control. According to www.upandaway.org “approximately 60,000 young children are brought to the emergency room each year because they got into medicines that are left within reach.” Up and Away Web site is a great reference for information and education tips regarding medicine safety.
Yesterday I was really hard on myself. Even after everything came back normal I still felt bad that because I didn’t have the Tylenol out of reach, Annabelle had to get her blood drawn. I also just felt like a total idiot. I have been a parent for almost 3 ½ years and I felt like I shouldn’t be making silly mistakes like this. But, at the end of the day I know that I am trying as hard as I possibly can to provide a safe, healthy and happy life for my family, and I think that has to be enough. Last night during prayers I thanked God for keeping the Tylenol out of Annabelle’s mouth, and once again prayed for our family to be safe, healthy and happy.
**I was not paid or encouraged to write this article by the CDC or any other sources and was told by a CDC representative it was legal for me to use the Up and Away and Out of Sight images because CDC images and information are public domain and approved to use if the individual is not being paid. Just in case anyone was concerned :)