Lock up your medicines

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There is no such thing as a perfect parent and I am certainly not claiming any prizes for parenting but this week really gave my parenting skills a kick up the backside.

All my kids have had some ailment or another this week.  My baby girl had a dose of croup and I had her at home for a couple of days, my little man seemed to have some urinary issues including some pain when going to the toilet and my oldest had a toothache.



The calpol and nurofen were flowing.  They are usually kept in the highest shelf in an upper press in the kitchen.  There are times I can’t reach them, let alone any of the kids but with the number of doses going I accidentally left a bottle of calpol six plus in reach this week just after I gave my 7-year-old a dose.

I was about to head out on a bike ride.  My little man told me he needed some medicine but I was all out of calpol infant so told him I would buy some later.  While getting jackets and shoes on to go out my little man went off to get his shoes.  He came back pleased as punch with himself.

“I got my own calpol mammy” as he showed me a bottle of calpol six plus. WHAT!!  I went into totally freak out mode.  I grabbed the bottle and asked if he had taken some.  Yes, he said.  I looked at the bottle.  There was some left.  I was in a panic.  Do I just call an ambulance? Make him get sick? I looked at the bottle and it said “In case of overdose seek medical advice”. I didn’t even know how he got passed the child lock.  So not only did I leave it lying around but it was presumably not closed tight shut.

I got myself calm and rang my husband.  We agreed we needed to try to assess how much he had taken and then call for medical advice and be in a position to be able to tell them how much he took.

So I spooned out 5mls doses of what was left in the bottle.  25mls left out of 60mls.  I also knew I had given my daughter three 5ml doses in the previous 24 hours so that was another 15mls. 40mls in total.  I also knew that the bottle was not full when I started my daughters doses – we had used at least two doses over Christmas when everyone was a little under the weather.  That left a maximum of 10mls that he could have taken.  I still wasn’t even 100% sure he had taken any – he is not great at answering questions and was hysterical himself when I told him how dangerous it was to mess with medicines.

I asked him again how much had he taken – he said two spoons.  It tallied as that is how much he takes of calpol infant but of course this is double dose stuff.

I was a little relaxed but it was an overdose nonetheless.  I called the VHI nurse line who reassured me he should be fine but not to give any more calpol for at least 24 hours and to call the National Poisons Unit in Beaumont Hospital.

They were very helpful.  Told me it wasn’t a toxic dose and not to give him any further doses for 24 hours.

PHEW!!!!  What could have been so much worse turned out fine.  For his age he is allowed 1000mg of paracetamol per 24 hours and he got 500mg in one dose.  Not the way to do it but thankfully not a medical issue.  I felt so stupid but it happened so easily – like so many toddler incidents.  Blink for a minute and you miss it.  No point beating myself but big lessons learnt:

1. By my son not to mess with the medicines – only mammy gives them.

2. By mammy – close the medicines tight and put them back up in their storage place immediately after use.



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