If you are a family with kids and have grandparents or great grandparents alive, you likely enjoy visiting with your relatives from time to time. While your small children may not always get much out of these visits, especially while very young, they do wonders for our older relatives who so enjoy visits from family and delight in seeing us become parents and expand our families.
I remember vividly visiting my grandparents as they aged, as a child, a teen, a young adult and when I became a parent with my own infants and toddlers. I recall well their delight…and the vivid images of their aging lives: durable medical equipment like canes and walkers in the corner of the room. And, the kitchen counter with rows of medication bottles that made the counter appear like the pharmacist’s counter at the local pharmacy. Given all of my grandparents had arthritis towards the end of their lives, none of those bottles had child-resistant tops.
Whether at home, an assisted care facility or a nursing home, the issue I worry about with small kids are floors and medications. Even if someone is handing an older person their medication, a pill can fall to the floor without being noticed and later found by a toddling child who mistakes it for a piece of candy. That’s what happened last week when 15 month old boy found a shiny pink pill on the floor of his grandmother’s house and didn’t think twice about tossing it in his mouth. Thankfully, it was bitter so he spit most of it out but it was a blood pressure medication so we had to given him activated charcoal, a lot of it, and then observe him in the emergency room for 6 hours.
This story had a happy ending but could have been a disaster had it been a different type of pill or a higher dose, or a group of pills. It’s very, very important that we all take a moment to think about the pill safety of our older relatives – for their sake and the sake of the small children in their lives. In addition to products that can help dispense pills more safely, making sure floors are clean before visits and supervising kids during visits are essential.
As an aside, the moral to this story can be extended to hotels and homes we may visit that we are not as familiar with. Pills can easily fall out of pockets, purses and luggage. When traveling anywhere with small kids, get on the ground and look under beds, chairs, sofas, pillows and be sure there are not any pills or other small items that we wouldn’t want our small children, or even older children, to touch, or worse – eat!
BTW, can you find the pill in this picture? Hint: it’s blue.
See On The Edge Of Something blog for the “before” shots showing the pill in a spoon on the floor.
Not so easy, huh? Unless, of course, you are a very small child with the eye sight of a falcon and live close to the ground routinely. Now do you get the point?
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Gwenn Is In*