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If Your Baby Can Crawl, Save This in Your Phone, Stat!

Photograph by Twenty20

The more children I have, the more I find myself being an open book. Because, y'all, there is no shame in learning from another mama’s mistake.

My youngest is 9 months old. He’s a confident crawler and buzzes all over our downstairs all day long. My big kids know which tiny toys to keep in higher baskets, and if my 2-year-old finds something he deems "tiny," he will bring it to me saying, "No baby!" while making a dramatic gagging, choking face.

I've covered my bases. We’ve had the talks about what is and is not safe for babies. I've babyproofed the house pretty well. But, apparently, not good enough.

Last week, my little cruiser found a small container of ant bait, and, as with all things, he put it straight in his mouth. He was quietly playing in the play room with his siblings while I loaded the dishwasher, and when I walked by for a check-in, I noticed the container in his hands … and the sticky, sweet, liquid poison all over his arms and face.

You never want to have to call, but when you do, you'll want to do it fast.

I panicked. I thought my husband and I had collected all the ant bait containers once our little guy became mobile. Where did he find this? How much had he consumed?!

I knew the package said to keep away from children, but what kind of emergency was this? Surely not 911. Right?

Poison Control—that’s who I needed. Someone who could assess the product and his size and tell me what to do next. Give him milk? Make him throw up? Rush to the emergency room?

I quickly searched the number for Poison Control but I would have been well-served to have their number saved in my phone’s favorite list. After all, I have four kids, one of whom is apparently quite curious and crafty!

That’s where we’ll pause for a moment. Parents, learn from my mistake. Save the number for the American Association of Poison Control Centers in your phone now. It is: 1-800-222-1222. They’re available 24/7. Not only are they experts, they’re a cool head in an emotional situation.

Now, text your bestie and your spouse and tell them to do the same and save the number on their phones, too. You never want to have to call, but when you do, you'll want to do it fast.

The number for 911 is something we memorize from an early age, but you and I will probably call Poison Control long before a big emergency happens. So far, I've called twice in my eight years of mom life. Once when my toddler ate way too much toothpaste (that’s what I get for buying a vanilla birthday cake-flavored tube!) and this time, with the ant bait.

Thankfully, the little container of liquid ant bait wasn’t a concern for my son. It wasn’t full. More was on his hands and around his mouth than inside of him. The volume listed on the package in combination with his 30 pounds meant the worst case scenario was a tummy ache. But I was still worried like crazy. The sweet woman I spoke with at Poison Control calmly walked me through the information she needed to assess the situation and gave me tangible next steps to ensure my son’s well-being. She wished me well and we parted ways. Crisis averted!

It's my prayer that you never have to call Poison Control. I hope this was my final call. But, if you do have a concern about something poisonous, hazardous or toxic, have the number close at hand.

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