I don’t ever try to portray myself to be the perfect mother, nor do I play one on tv. I do the best I can with the resources I have. I try hard to give my children the best life possible. Just the other day a friend said to me “You are such a great mother”. I honestly didn’t know how to respond. I am just a mom. As so many moms are. No one mom is greater or better than the next, we do what we can in the best way we can, hopefully using the best judgment we can.
This is why I wanted to share a very scary experience that happened to my toddler today. I wanted to remind all of you of what can happen in less than a minutes time. Even if you are a great mom. No criticizing necessary, I’ve already beaten myself over the head for what happened.
I awoke this morning cheery and bright-eyed. Em woke up shortly after. I gave her some milk and we watched some cartoons. As soon as hubby woke up I decided to get the girls laundry started. We keep the laundry detergent in the guest bathroom that no one uses. At least the liquid kind, but it doesn’t really matter what format. The laundry pod packs are kept in a locked cabinet in the living room. The guest bathroom has become a storage closet mainly. We even have a child knob lock on the door.
When I was done getting the detergent, I forgot to turn off the light and shut the door. Hubby was sitting with the girls in the living room. After heading down the hall and placing the laundry in the machines, I returned to the apartment and sat down on the couch.
Em wandered into the bathroom and I saw her reaching for the green pool float tube. Within eye view, I called to her for her to leave it alone and come to me. She didn’t come.
I called her again, as did hubby “come Emily, come see what I have for you.” I said to him jokingly as I stood up to go get her “obviously whatever she has is far more interesting”. The laughs stopped there.
I was aghast at what I found. Em had found a laundry detergent pod (not sure how the pack of pods got there) and bit into it. There was blue liquid dripping from her mouth, on her clothes, and the floor. The plastic packet, still half full, in her hand, while she tried to remove the liquid from her mouth with her other hand. She was calm and fine until I started screaming, not at her. I grabbed her and yelled for hubby, “rinse her mouth out”. I ran to the fridge to locate the Poison Control Hotline magnet our pediatrician had given us. I placed the call as calmly as possible and explained what happened.
I was advised to give her 2-3 ounces of water or milk and watch her for the next two hours for any signs of breathing problems. This included swelling of the tongue, mouth or lips, distressed breathing, gasping for air, convulsions and excessive coughing. Hubby returned from the bathroom and I sent him back to continue rinsing/flushing her mouth out.
Em vomited some of her earlier milk about 30 minutes after the entire ordeal had begun. I called hotline again. The same gentleman who I had spoken to the first time, he had provided me with his name, assured me that it was okay and to keep monitoring her and that he would call me in an hour to check on her. He also reminded me that should any of the signs he told me about before present themselves to either call back or call 911.
Em seemed sleepy but we kept her awake and entertained. Within an hour she was back to her normal self. I showed her one of the laundry pods and before I could even say anything we was waving it away saying “no, no”. I think she realized it wasn’t fun. I know I did.
Needless to say I will be moving all the laundry detergent behind locked cabinets and WAY out of reach. There will NOT be a repeat of this. I am a parent, I make mistakes, and so will you. Trying to prevent all of them is impossible but there are definitely steps you can take to help you. This could have turned out far worse than it did and I am thankful it didn’t. I even came across a sad news article about a 7-month old who had died after ingesting one of these types of laundry detergent pods.
I am asking that you all become familiar with the National Poison Control hotline number: 1-800-222-1222. It does not have to be an emergency and you can call 24/7 from anywhere in the US! Store the number in your phone right now. I am also asking that you not only put everything dangerous out of reach but also behind lock and key! Even the things we think they can’t reach, they can find a way.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation with your child where all you can tell yourself after is “If I woulda, shoulda, coulda, done this, none of this would ever have happened? Let me know I am not alone in this!