Is Your Toddler Sneaking Drugs?

I remember stealing drugs once when I was a little kid. I pulled a chair over to the kitchen stove and climbed up on it. Then I opened the cabinet above the stove, took out a Baby Aspirin and ate it. I did it because I liked the taste of Baby Aspirin. I don't know how old I was, but clearly I was small enough to need a chair to climb up and old enough to know it was wrong.

It must be hereditary because now my kids are medicine junkies. They absolutely LOVE the taste of liquid meds and if they see their sibling getting some, the other one begs for it. My daughter has even faked pain and injury to try to get a dose if her brother needs some. I can't really blame them, I've tasted it and it takes like candy! Those drugs are very high up and far back out of their reach.

The rest of our adult drugs are in our main floor bathroom closet on the second highest shelf, which also holds the first-aid kit and bandages. The shelf below it, still much higher than either of our kids can reach, holds a tied up grocery bag of expired medications that I collected after I finished four years of being back-to-back pregnant and nursing (and not being able to take meds). It was put there with the intention of being dropped off at a pharmacy. It's been there a year and a half.

Recently my daughter came strolling out of the bathroom putting a Frozen band-aid on a (non-existent) cut. I did a doubletake and asked her where she got it from. She told me she pulled the bathroom stool (in there to help the kids reach the sink) over to the closet and climbed up to the top shelf and got it herself. I was sitting in the next room while this happened and didn't hear a thing.

I immediately went and moved everything up to the top level and put the bag of expired meds waaay out of reach but it was a a good lesson to learn. I'm just grateful she didn't look in that grocery bag because that kids loves her candy and those brightly coloured pills in pop-out packs may have been just too tempting.

This weekend is National Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day which is led by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and I'll be taking that bag into the nearest pharmacy. There are several local drop off-centres in the city and province-wide. A list of the locations, and more information about how to prepare the meds, can be found on the RCMP site here.

This is your cautionary tale and friendly reminder. Kids are resourceful, clever and agile. Take a few moments to clean out your cabinets, remove the expired medication and dispose of it properly this weekend (and don't flush it down the toilet, the environment doesn't need that). While you're at it, move the medications up higher or to a locked cabinet, and have a conversation with your kid about asking a grown-up before eating ANYTHING they find in the house.