Keeping toddlers safe during travel is trickier than you might think, so check your suitcase for hidden dangers and know what to do in an emergency.
I’ll never forget the day I discovered the empty pill bottle in my husband’s suitcase.
We had been home from a trip to see his parents for several days, but I had not yet unpacked our bags.
Beside the pill bottle, in what looked like a trail from the suitcase, were little green gel caps–and some of them were broken.
Panic struck me, and I immediately began searching for our toddler.
I grabbed her, pulled open her mouth, and, sure enough, little bits of green gel caps were in it. I carried her down the stairs as quickly as my legs would take me, so I could locate the phone number to the poison control center on my refrigerator.
We had been so careful, or so I thought. We always kept our medicines hidden and far out of our daughter’s reach. But while traveling, we had simply packed the pills in our suitcases.
Thankfully, our daughter was OK. But we very well could have ended up in the hospital that night–or worse.
It wasn’t intentional neglect on our part.
We thought we were doing everything “right.”
But we didn’t have a plan for keeping our medicines out of reach while traveling.
What’s a parent to do? You can’t exactly store your medicines the same way while traveling as you do at home.
Here are a few things we’ve learned about keeping toddlers safe during travel:
1. Store your medicines in a place your child cannot reach.
This will be much easier at home, but what about when traveling? After our daughter ingested my husband’s pills that day, we invested in a lockable pill case for when we are traveling. As well, when we are traveling for a longer period and need to pack all of our vitamins and medicines, I pack them in a bag that I carry with me at all times. That means the bag sits in the front seat with me during a road trip instead of in the back where one of the children could get into the bag.
When you arrive at your location, be sure to find a high enough place to secure your medicines, so your children will not be able to reach them there as well.
2. Put medicines back up as soon as you use them.
Children can easily climb onto counters and access medicines. Develop the habit of securing pill bottle tops as soon as you can and immediately placing the medicines back in a place where the children cannot reach them.
3. Use childproof locks.
Thankfully, most (but not all!) medicine bottles today come with childproof caps. Be sure the cap is locked tightly after each use.
4. Teach children about the dangers of over-ingesting medicine.
I am probably a bit too dramatic with this, but I tell my children that if they overeat vitamins or take mommy and daddy’s medicine they could die–or at least end up in the hospital. Do not joke about medicine with your children. Be serious when teaching them that medicines are to be respected and only used when an adult administers them.
5. Tell guests about medicine safety.
There was another time when one of our girls was a toddler that my father-in-law was visiting, and one of them got into his medicine. I don’t even remember what the medicine was now. I do remember being extremely upset he had left it out, but I no longer blame my father-in-law for this. However, I’m now much more vigilant in making sure guests know that they, too, need to keep their medicines up and away from the children of the home.
6. Know what to do in case of an emergency.
Thankfully, on the day my daughter ingested the medicine, we had the local poison control center’s information on our refrigerator. We still have this information where I can easily access it.
Save the Poison Help number (800-222-1222) in all of your phones, including cell phones. That way, you’ll have it when you need it. Also, make sure it’s available for your child’s babysitter or caregiver. Call Poison Help right away if you think your child might have gotten into a medicine or vitamin, even if you are not completely sure.
Learn more about how to safely store medicines up and away from children here.
This post is sponsored by the CHPA Educational Foundation.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of the CHPA Educational Foundation . The opinions and text are all mine.
Such a good post!! We accidentally left a travel bag in reach of our toddler and she walked into the room with blood everywhere. She found my husband’s razor and had little cuts on her fingers. Fortunately, they were not serious but of course we were quite alarmed.
Oh wow! I wouldn’t have thought about the razor!!
Farmer Girl Hannah15
My little brother did that one time, trying to shave his head when he was like 4. All the razors were put way away after that.
Farmer Girl Hannah15
When I was a toddler I did the same thing…. only I think I ingested Ibuprofen.
Oh wow! What happened? Did your parents call poison control?
How would you go about asking house guests to store medicine out of reach? We recently moved over 700 miles from all family-and as such, we are booked with lots of visitors!! I want each person to know what a blessing their visit is, but I’ve been very worried about this exact situation.
I’m now worried about razors left on the side of bathtubs or counters too. Any suggestions on how to respectfully highlight these dangers would be so appreciated!!!
Hi Alix! I feel your pain! We had this happen with our father-in-law, and it scared him so badly that he now had a keyed lock stored on his medicine pocket of his suitcase!
Sometimes it’s easier via email or text, so you can write before they arrive something like: “Just a heads up! Our little ones are in a really curious stage right now, so we’re being hyper vigilant about keeping our medications, razors, etc. out of reach. When you arrive, if you have medicines or sharp items, please make sure to put them out of reach of their little hands.”
OR, if you’re brave enough, just say it in person. Sometimes I preface things like this with: “I hate to ask this but…”
You can even reference my article and how we had our little girl ingest medicines this way!
Contrats on the move! 🙂
Thank you for the suggestion!
I’m also thinking of getting a cute little note printed and put in a frame to sit on the bathroom counter asking to please be mindful of seemingly innocent yet dangerous to little ones type of items.
Thank you for the article, it was a great conversation starter in our home!
Oh I LOVE that idea!!
I bought a little lock box that uses combination to unlock it. I store our meds in it when we travel. (Razors fit in it too!) You could get one to keep in the guest room and explain to guests why you have it and give them the combination.
I love that! It sounds like a wonderful option!