Thursday, August 5, 2010

First Call to Poison Control?...Check

While packing for our family renunion, I let Eliza sit near the clothes and suitcases so I could watch her better. She seemed entertained by the buttons on my shirt and the zipper on my messenger bag, and I felt somewhat relieved to have her mildly distracted so I could get some chores done.  As I went to zip up one of the packed suitcases, I watched Eliza shake a large white pill out of the side pocket of the messenger bag. I instantly fell to my knees to grab the pill, but Eliza's nimble fingers were faster than mine. The pill was in her mouth within a matter of two or three seconds. Remembering Safe Sitter instructions, I squeezed the sides of her chubby cheeks, hoping the pill would fall out. To my alarm, the pill was so large it couldn't be squeezed out; It was taking up the entire breadth of her mouth. Instinctively, I put my finger into her mouth, hoping to extract the pill....

And inadvertantly pushed the medicine to the back of her mouth. She began choking. I began freaking out. She couldn't swallow it because it was too big. She couldn't cough it up because it was too big. I tried the baby heimlech and nothing. Then, somehow, she swallowed the pill.

While the choking crisis was averted, the poison crisis had just begun.

My mind was racing: "What pill? What pill?" I knew the messenger bag was one I used when pregnant. I then thought and realized I was on a plethora of medication throughout pregnancy.However, the size of the pill led me to think: prenatal vitamins. I dug throughout the bag and found one other pill similar to the one I saw. A number was etched onto the side of the pill. I googled. It was a prescription strength prenatal vitamin, which is much stronger than any generic brand. After speaking with the pediatrician's office (who had no advice other than to "watch her"), I called my neighbor, who has two children under the age of two.

She immediately said: "Call Poison Control. Their number is 800-222-1222." The way she knew the number made me feel less guilty. So, other mothers have had to call this place. I'm not the only one who has let their child eat something hazardous.

I called Poison Control. I told them the pill's number and my findings from Google. After several expected questions, the woman on the other end of the phone asked: "Do you have other drugs laying around your house?"

I wanted to sarcastically say: "Yes. Yes, I do. TONS." Instead, I said no and profusely apologized, telling the woman I didn't leave my child alone and that I had seen her swallow the pill and tried to stop her. Halfway through my story, I realized I sounded ridiculous and needed to stop talking.

Eliza ended up being fine. She just couldn't sleep for 5 hours and had to drink lots of water. She's had more than enough vitamins for this month. I hope I never have to call Poison Control ever again.


  1. Gah! That would be frightening. I must say, I would have been awfully tempted as well to give a snarky remark to a question like that. Do I have other drugs laying around? Good grief. Even if someone did, would they really say yes?

  2. Oh my gosh, how scary! You totally did everything right. I'm glad it was just a vitamin. Not looking forward to Noah's first poison control moment.

  3. Those suckers are fast. Wes ate a cigarette butt at the park once when he was around Eliza's age. He was SITTING ON MY LAP at the time. Sometimes there's only so much you can do.

  4. A cigarette!? Crazy. I would have had a full out anxiety attack.

  5. Last May while visiting my cousin in Seattle, Jade got into the little dishwasher detergent packets. She had one in each hand and had taken a bite out of each one (the powder side, not the liquid side). I immediately told my cousin about it and she knew what to do because HER toddler had done the SAME thing only a month earlier and she had called poison control. Apparently those things aren't that harmful, I just gave her milk so it wouldn't upset her stomach. Things happen to all kids. Just pray that when it does, it's not too serious.


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