As hard as one might try to child-proof their home, sometimes kids are just too damn curious and clever for their own good. One mom found this out the hard way when her three-year-old daughter consumed a whole pill bottle of medicine.
Stevie Niki, the mom behind parenting and lifestyle blog My Tribe of Six, shared her story this week to spread awareness about how easily this scary situation can happen.
"I told you I would always be real with you. Share the ups, the downs and all arounds," she began her post. "Well, today something happened in my home that could have been life altering and I want to share it because sometimes we all need reminding that we cannot become complacent as parents. Its easy to do, we fall into our daily routines, let our guards down within the comfort zone of our own child proof homes and never expect tragedy will ever hit us. It's easy to think 'that wont happen to us' but IT CAN, it can happen to anyone and everyone."
Niki went onto explain that while her three-year-old played with a cousin in her room, she left the two alone while she went outside for a minute. Her house is child-proofed and her daughter was in familiar territory, so she didn't worry. But when she came back inside the house, she saw that her daughter had moved the stacked kitchen chairs in front of the medicine cabinet and she found an empty bill bottle.
"I question her; 'Where is the medicine? Show Mummy where you put them? What did they look like? How did you do that?" she wrote. "Coy, with signs of pride breaming through she reluctantly replies 'they're all in my tummy Mummy, Sissy's green and white ones and the big blue ones tasted like berries.'" She had taken her six-year-old sister's medicine, the tablets she was so jealous her sister "got to take" each night. "I can say without a doubt, she did in fact manage to consume 20 to 30 capsules and 6 strepsils," Niki concluded.
Like any panicked mom in this situation, she rushed her daughter to the hospital where she was thankfully given good news. "The medication she over dosed on was slow release Melatonin which is the artificial version of the naturally occurring hormone in our brain that helps us to relax and go to sleep. There is no negative side affects to taking it other than she might have a decent sleep," she said. She did, however, learn some harrowing statistics about the situation she found herself in that day. "In the United States, approximately 60,000 children per year are rushed to the emergency room after getting into medications. That's roughly 165 children under 5 years of age that are treated daily who unintentionally overdose or consume prescription medications," she wrote.
Niki preempted the inevitable "bad mom" shaming in her post as well. "Before I go further, I want you to know that I am well aware I will be judged for this. That the parenting police, childless experts and the self proclaimed perfect parents will persecute me. They're going to say 'Where were you? Why weren't you watching her?' That 'this would NEVER happen to me' and 'my child would never do this.' BUT the fact is, it's impossible to watch them 24 hours a day and accidents CAN and WILL happen. Sometimes accidents are small, they're broken pot plants, a smashed vase or a bump on the head and sometimes they're life changing, like a child falling into a pool, running out behind a car or like today, it was a child getting into the medicine cupboard and overdosing."
"So don't be too quick to judge," she wrote. "Instead you too can learn from my mistake and instead of criticizing me, try to empathize with me because there is nothing no one could say that could make me feel worse about it than I already do."
And she finished her story with optimism, "Tonight I'm going to bed a few hairs grayer and a few wrinkles deeper, thankful for the healthy children I have tucked securely and safely in their beds, knowing tomorrow will be a better day (touch wood)."
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