I just read an article about the growing number of toddlers who die each year from opioid overdose. We think of this as an adult problem, and it is that too — a huge one. Addiction to and death from opioids continues to rise, and we need to pay attention with our teens. We need to pay attention with our littles as well. While any accidental ingestion of medicine in a small child is bad, opioids have the potential to kill with as little as one pill. Pills are designed for slow release of medication into your system. When children pop a pill, they chew it, and all the medicine is released at once, often with fatal consequences.
You may think it cannot happen to you, but I learned six years ago that the things you think will only happen to negligent parents, can occur, and they can occur quickly. At 18 months old, my Charlie fell out of a second story window. Miraculously, he was fine, but those few minutes changed my perspective forever. Accidents can and will happen even to the most vigilant of parents. Avoid the ones you can.
Make sure your medicines are in places toddlers cannot reach, and even then, have secure child proof caps. If you have small kids, you’ve probably already done this. You are more likely to run into trouble at someone else’s home. More accidents happen in the home of grandparents. In an older person’s house, there is a greater chance of medicines with loose caps. Childproof caps are difficult for the elderly. What about friends and neighbors? Many people have cabinets overflowing with medication, and small children have a tendency to wander. It is worth your while to take a quick look at the areas your child can enter before you sit and relax. You do not have to be neurotic, but don’t assume because you are careful in your home, everyone takes the same precaution. While we cannot protect our children from every misstep, some tragedies are in fact, avoidable.