My Dangerous Purse

I’ve got all our medications way out of reach of my little Pumpkin. They’re tucked away on a shelf so high that even if she were able to maneuver a chair over there, she still wouldn’t be able to reach them.

I’ve been comfortable with this arrangement, feeling pretty safe that my Pumpkin will not be one of those statistics – after all, most accidental poisoning in infants and young children is from medications.

Until today. I’ve been so very wrong this whole time. I’ve just been lucky.

In my purse I’ve got medications. The same purse spends a lot of time hanging out near the front door, well within reach of Pumpkin. I’m thankful I had a conversation with my fellow colleague who told me one of the main causes of infants and young children accidentally taking medications is from them finding these medications in a purse or bag.

I hardly take any medications, but I’ve got a small emergency stash in there – a few pain-relievers, a prescription medication, a couple of cold pills from a cold I had sometime last summer, and a few antacid chewables. There’s only about 10 pills total there, but they come in all sorts of colours and sizes, looking just like candy to an inquiring tot.

Even if your medication is in child resistant packaging like most pill bottles today, it still needs to be way out of reach of your little one. “Child resistant packaging” just means that most (not all) kids under the age of 5 can’t open the package within 5 minutes.

Did you catch that?? That means some kids will open the package in a couple minutes’ time. After 5 minutes, more and more kids are able to open the package. I don’t know about you, but 5 minutes go by pretty quickly in my house.

The thing about child resistant packaging, or any kind of “child-proofing” (for the record, there’s no such thing as child-proofing), is that it buys you time. That’s it.

So, we’ve got to check our purses, briefcases, suitcases, travelling kits for medications. If there’s something in there, store it out of reach. When guests come to visit, have them hang up their purses with their coat (especially Grandma’s, who may be taking more medications and may not be using child-resistant packaging). Before our guests come over this weekend, I’ll be clearing a space on the top shelf of our hall closet for “dangerous purses.”

P.S. Do you know what to do if your child does ingest a medication or household poison? If you haven’t already, I highly recommend taking a First Aid & CPR course for parents/caregivers.

For more home safety tips or to share your story, there are many ways to connect with us:

  • Leave us a comment below
  • Tweet with us @haltonparents
  • Email us at haltonparents@halton.ca
  • Call the HaltonParents line for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About Andrea Scott RN

I’m a public health nurse with the HaltonParents team – you’ll find me blogging, tweeting and answering emails. I’ve been working for the Halton Region Health Department since 2006 and my focus has been on supporting parents with babies and little kids. I have two little ones myself, “Pumpkin” and “Monkey” who give me plenty to blog about! :)
This entry was posted in Babies, Grandparents, Parenting, Physical Health, Preschool, Toddlers and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to My Dangerous Purse

  1. Pingback: Accidental poisoning – A parent’s worst nightmare | HaltonParents

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