Wednesday, February 3, 2010


It doesn't look like a real telephone number... but, thank goodness that it is!

That is the number you dial after 1-800 if you need to contact the Poison Control Center's Help Hotline.

I mentioned a while back that we had a hairy couple of days and it was about the time that Bump turned two months old and got his first icky blechy cold (it STILL isn't gone, by the way, and it has been 15 days now... it is seeming to be drying up some and not running so much, but it is still lingering and making breathing and eating a frustrating event at times, but I digress.).


Anyway, the girls also had the same cold/virus that was causing both runny and stuffy noses as well as a cough. We use a cold product at nighttime (for the big kids) to help their little noses a bit so that they can breathe easier, cough less and sleep well!! Then during the day we skip the cold medicine let the noses run and blow them, deal with the stuffiness and try to cough it all out! (This is what a very kind and we felt AWESOME pediatrician once told us when the big kids were the little kids!) Anyway, this is what we usually use for several reasons...


The dose is pre-measured into the tiny little strip, so there is no sticky cup or spoon or syringe to clean up, it doesn't spill, the kids seemed to like them well enough to not fuss about having medicine like Pops and I felt when we were kids - GROSS Nyquil and Robitussin!

All these things are great helps for moms and dads. Even their website advertising states,

"Triaminic Thin Strips® Relieve Cold Symptoms & Are Easy To Take!"

Pops and I usually struggle to get the little foil pouch opened up and the kids are impatiently waiting while we are standing in the bathroom fumbling around with finding the dashed line, folding, trying to tear, etc... They are ready to hop in bed and read a story not stand in the bathroom with their clumsy parents.


Well, that day back a couple weeks ago, I was spending a LOT of time with Bump. Using a bulb syringe to clear his nasal passages, holding and rocking a lot, in general trying to calm and soothe him. That day, I had the big kids do their school workbooks that they could accomplish on their own without much help from me and they only had to ask a question or two if needed. Then I relied on a "friend" that I rarely if ever use... the VCR. The treekids hung out in the loft most of the rest of the day watching cartoons and movies... Dora, Sesame Street, Disney Classics, etc. They were so excited to even get to eat their lunch in front of the television with all the cartoon crazies. I felt bad that I had to devote ALL that time to one little kid and not play or interact a whole lot with the others, so I caved and let them drown in electronic media.

Little did I know that while the big kids were working on their schoolbooks and such, Little Miss Blossom was up to no good. When I checked on her she was busy playing Polly Pockets and Barbies and even a stint with the baby dolls - there was quite a mess brewing, but didn't have the energy to make sure it got cleaned up right then. So, back I went to my little "cold hub" where we had a cool mist humidifier going and a heater to keep plenty warm - along with that bulb syringe, saline drops, kleenex, diapers, burp cloths and a rocking chair.


Her no good expedition must have began right after I checked on her... She went into the kids' bathroom and dragged a rubbermaid tub in after her. She climbed up on it, and started having a look around to see what was up in that linen cupboard. There are many things! Towels, humidifiers for the big kids' rooms, extra soaps and shampoos, things that I probably could throw away, but just haven't and a small plastic 3-drawer thinger-maginger that we store band-aids, anti-biotic ointment, cortisone cream, tylenol, ibuprofen, cold medicines, etc. Basically a medicine chest. In there, she found the Triaminic Thin Strips and got them out. She found a bubblegum flavored tylenol or two, a few tylenol sinus tablets, a few Claritin melt-tabs and whatever other items and took them to the counter. There, she began her experiment.

EASILY open all the blister packs because she has gotten out her scissors!! Sinus tablets are bitter and don't taste good... spit it out in the trash. Claritin Fastmelt tabs are gross... spit in the trash. Pink Tylenol tabs... YUM! Eat two because that was all there were. Triaminic purple strips (diphenhydramine - one strip for over 6 years old every four hours) cut open TWO and relish them... they are SOOOOO good. Somehow decide that they are so tasty they must be like candy and mommy wouldn't want her to eat candy before lunch... take package to her room and secretly proceed to eat most of what is left in the box. Go about the day as if nothing is different.

Fast forward... it is 6 PM and at dinner Blossom is not acting "normal" and is doing a weird thing with her tongue running around in her mouth. We are having noodles (her favorite) and chicken and she is looking at her plate as if I have served seaweed and liver. It is now 8:30pm and the treekids getting ready for bed. Teeth are brushed and flossed, prayers are said, kisses given, and g'night prayers said. Girls come out of their room and stand at the top of the stairs and tell me that they think that they need medicine for their stuffy/runny noses. Hmmm... seemed much better to me - "nah, not tonight girls, you are on the mend!!" They head back to their room. About 3 minutes later, Branch comes down the stairs and Blossom is peeking around the corner in the hallway upstairs. Branch hands me three of the foil pouches of Triaminic Thin Strips - two are wrinkly, one appears to have been tried to be opened and has a a tear from teeth on the corner.


"BLOSSOM!" She comes down the stairs. "Did you do this?"

"Yes" she told me.

I started in about the importance of medicine only being taken if Mommy or Daddy give it to you to take. Branch comes down the stairs with several OPEN and EMPTY foil pouches.

"BLOSSOM!" I shouted as my heart sunk.

She cringed and looked down.

"Did you eat these?" (Duh, mom... here's your sign. NO, no, she just tore them all open, and licked them and threw them away. If you lick it, it dissolves on the tongue. Oh, right... she just LOOKED at these grape flavored strips. RIGHT.)

"Yes" she tells me.

"When did you do this?" I ask.

"Before Dora."


Branch comes down the stairs with another couple foil pouches. Pop reads the label, goes to the computer and begins searching for information on dosage amounts and toxicity levels. He takes Blossom to the scale and weighs her to find a better estimate of the level of drug vs. body weight. He went upstairs and searched the mess to see if there were any more strips. He went into the bathroom and removed ALL medication from their bathroom and put it in our bathroom.

He comes back and tells me that she took a toxic amount for sure and that two more strips and she would have likely taken a lethal dose.

"Blossom, WHY did you eat so many of these?"

"Well, mommy, they just tasted so good that I wanted more."


Pops sits and talks with her about medicine being poison and gets out his stethoscope to listen to her heart and breathing. She seems normal and I go up to their room and dig through the mess to make sure... I find one more foil pouch empty. I go to the bathroom and find a piece of trash on the floor and open the cupboard to throw it in the trashcan, where I see TWO more purple foil pouches... empty. And one of another variety. And I find the blister pack of tylenol and such opened... some obviously licked and spat out, but I could tell that bubblegum tylenol went down - it was no where to be seen.

I am TERRIBLY frightened at this point.

I come downstairs and tell Pops I found THREE more as well as the other drugs stuff. I think that we need to be calling the poison center to find out, now... He calls and chats with the nurse, she recommended a trip to the ER... They discussed that it happened nearly 12 hours earlier and that Pops had monitored her heart and breathing and it is in the normal range. She told us that YES she had consumed a lethal dose of diphenhydramine and that at the hospital at this point they would be monitoring her heart rate, etc. as the worst of whatever was going to happen was probably over... and would have probably been going on right after lunch while they were sitting calmly watching movies.

She was getting tired and I had her lay her head on my lap while I read a story and smoothed her hair. She fell asleep. The poison center's nurse called back. Sleeping was a very good sign that the drugs were leaving her system. Pops carried her to her bed and checked on her a couple of times overnight.


She woke the next morning with a runny/stuffy nose a cough and was back to her normal self. I don't like the feeling of sheer terror of the story unfolding as I am sure you didn't particularly either. Pops has decided we are not going to have "yummy medicine" any longer. We are going to have gross Nyquil and Robitussin. Please let this story be a reminder to you that if you EVER have kids in your home... please lock up all the medicine - even if it is in child resistant bottles or packaging. The nurse at the poison center said that just the week prior, a 4 year old girl opened and drank two childproof bottles of diphenhydramine in 10 minutes while her mom tended to something. That is twice what our little Blossom had. Both little girls very lucky - that nothing serious happened. So, lock it all up and make sure to tell them that medicine is poison... not anything else. (Oh, and it is poison to the sick germs but if you get more than enough for the sick germs then it will poison the body... don't want them thinking that you are poisoning them with tylenol when they have a fever!!)

Keep this number handy, though... 1-800-222-1222 or you can remember 1-800-ABC-1ABC


  1. OH my goodness, how scary for all of you! So glad that she is alright! Thanks for putting the number out there for everyone to remember!

  2. Oh my goodness! I have tears in my eyes! How truly frightening! Thank God she is alright! This is a wonderful pst and an excellent reminder. Thank you e!

  3. Oh my gosh, I'm so glad she's okay! And it's a good story to tell the rest of us, to keep us on our guard.

    I, too, have that poison control center number tacked firmly on my fridge...ever since the day Rowan climbed onto the counter, opened the cabinet, got the children's vitamins down from the top shelf and proceded to ingest half the bottle! I came downstairs and could SMELL the vitamins -- that's how I knew he had eaten them. Once we figured out I didn't have to bring him to the ER (No iron in the vitamins, so no harm) -- except that he had serious stomach issues later on -- the lady at the poison center offered to send me a magnet with the number for my fridge. Ah yes, thank you, I think that would be a good idea!

    Glad all is okay!

  4. I am so glad Miss Blossom is well! Episodes like that are the moments in parenting that are hardest for me. Gotta love the sheer terror that fills you when one of them eats something potentially toxic, has a bad allergic reaction, or hides in a circular clothing rack at the store and you can't find them (and they think it's just a great place to hunker down for impromptu hide-and-seek). Ahh, the joys of parenthood!

  5. glad everything ended up working out ok. we have our medicine in the kitchen high up, but not locked up. might have to reconsider that!

  6. WOW, he ends up looking like Blossom when he makes that face. Okay, now I'm going to go back and read that post. After I go back upstairs and make the kids get back in bed.

  7. Oh, I've got goosebumps all over. You must have been sleepless all night. I'm so glad she's okay! We use the thin strips too but the kids hate them, so that's a bonus. I'm so glad that everything turned out okay!!


Thanks for jumping in and leaving your thoughts!!

I sure like to know who enjoys playing around the treehouse!