It was five years ago that Kevin and Billie Lombardo lost one of their 3-year-old twins in a horrifying accidental death. The twins, Chloe and Kevin Jr., climbed up on a counter and found pills that were in containers their parents thought were supposed to be child-proof. They weren't.
"Chloe came in and said, 'Mommy, I sick'," said Billie Lombardo. "I noticed on the side of my bed an open bottle of pills."
Both twins ended up in coma; and while Kevin Jr. improved, Chloe died. The Lombardos appeared on Good Morning America this week to recount their story and warn other families just how quickly such a tragedy can happen to anyone.
"One thing I always hear is, 'That's not going to happen to me.' I'll tell you what. It happened to us," Kevin said.
The holidays are a particularly dangerous time for accidental poisonings as families travel to the homes of friends and relatives and welcome guests into their own houses.
"There have been some studies that suggest that as many as 10 to 20 percent of children's exposures to medicines may actually be exposures to their grandparents' medicines," Dr. Kevin Osterhoudt told GMA.
He called it the "granny effect," and it's easy to see how it happens. Grandparents, as loving as they are, likely haven't had children around 24/7 for many years. They forget how crafty and curious kids can be, or they forget they even have a prescription bottle in their purse that they set on the coffee table that's right at toddler level.
And it doesn't take much. There are plenty of medications that can be deadly in very small amounts including aspirin and antidepressants. Even muscle rubs like Vicks VapoRub, nasal sprays, and eye drops can be deadly.
So as you travel and entertain this season, be extra careful about where you toddler is and what he or she is doing. As for your own medications, never assume that a child-proof warning is a guarantee of their safety, and store them accordingly.
Do you have your prescriptions adequately protected from toddlers?
Image via Brittany ((Halo))/Flickr