SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Keeping medicine and poisonous substances out of kids’ reach can be easier said than done.
KOLR10 met with one Ozarks mom to hear the story of how her son swallowed poison, and who she turned to.
In a pediatrics office surrounded by monkeys hanging on the walls, Mom Matraca Hill knows none is as realistic as her 3-year-old monkey Breckin.
“Kids can climb,” Hill said. “He’s a very good climber. Tea tree oil is really good for your hair and conditioning and stuff like that…and he came running through the house with an empty bottle.”
But where Breckin put the bottle’s contents was no monkey business.
“When they’re teething, and in that stage of development, everything goes to the mouth,” Hill said. “I knew he had ingested it because his breath smelled like tea tree oil.”
A natural conditioning treatment for Mom is poison for her toddler. Hill called the poison control hotline, because she took Mercy Pediatrician Dr. Laura Waters’ advice to have it saved in her phone in case of an emergency.
“All the grandmas and grandpas always think you need to give them something to make them puke, but they told me, do not make him puke,” Hill said.
Waters adds, “Because then you can re-damage your esophagus or other organs.”
And if children get poison in their eyes, Waters has other advice: “One of the biggest things you wanna do is rinse their eyes really really well for 15 minutes with lukewarm water.”
While the hotline can be consulted in most cases, Waters says if your child swallows any type of battery, that calls for an immediate trip to the emergency room.
“They can burn a hole in your esophagus or stomach within two hours of ingestion,” she said.
Despite all the danger, Hill says raising a boy wouldn’t be right without a scare here and there.
“He comes to me with stuff in his mouth, and I’m like ‘get that thing out of your mouth,'” Hill said.
As it turned out, Breckin was relatively un-phased by the tea tree oil. And with two years and countless climbs since that day, Breckin is having no trouble monkeying around.
Waters also reminds us never to talk about medicine like it’s candy, because that can confuse kids into taking something they’re not supposed to. The poison control hotline for Missouri is 1-800-222-1222.