I have 2 children; Super Dude just turned 4 and the Bug is 2 (28 months to be exact). Things happen, they get into things they shouldn't, they are kids after all. So here's something that happened the other day and the call to action I face now.
Super Dude & the Bug
Every morning we have the same routine. Get the kids downstairs. Feed the kids cereal (even though my daughter insists on Hot Dogs - or as she calls them "Hock Gogs" - the answer is always "No"). And then give them their milk & gummies (GummyVites). I place 2 each on top of their sippy cups and wait until they are done with breakfast to give it to them.
The other morning was very busy and I didn't pay much attention to where I put the cups. The Bug got down from her breakfast and grabbed her milk & gummies. Then Super Dude got down a couple minutes later and came to get his. The Bug was happy to hand Super Dude his sippy cup, minus the gummies. "ACK! Sissy! Did you eat brother's gummies???" "NOoooo..." she replies giggling. Well, okay, so she had 4 gummies, she'll probably be okay. No need to worry.
I gave Super Dude 2 more gummies and started to turn away when "HEYYYYyyyy! MommEEEEeee! Sissy took my gummy!" It took her less than a second to take the gummy he had just set on his cup, shove it in her mouth, and swallow. Oh boy... 5 Gummies?
I had better call Poison Control just to be safe. After all, that's what they are there for, right? I don't think the phone even rang on their end when a friendly nurse answered and helped me through the process of determining if I had anything to worry about. Now, I'm not one of those freak-out-at-every-little-thing moms and I spent most of the time on the phone joking about the situation. But it was good to know that she didn't eat a poisonous amount of vitamins, and what to look for if there was going to be a problem. Phew! Poison Control saves the day again! That's right, I've called them a few times. Super Dude ate a strawberry that was recently sprayed with a pesticide when he was 15 months old and once he tried to drink oil out of one of those scented oil warmers. Another time was for me and my Post C-Section Percocet induced idiocy.
Back to the story... Later that day, someone from Poison Control called to check up on the Bug (something that they do with every case). Then he asked me if I wouldn't mind answering a survey. Sure, no problem. That's the least I can do for this free service that I take advantage of. After answering the questions, he told me that the reason for the survey is that they are in danger of closing down. WHAT?!?!?
This is what he told me (taken from their website SaveOPC.com):
The Oregon Legislature's Joint Ways and Means Committee is determining what budget cuts are necessary for the next budget. Each state-funded program has submitted a description of the impact of a 20 to 30% budget cut. (A full listing of all the agency responses is available at: http://www.leg.state.or.us/budget/home.htm.)
We have communicated to the committee the Oregon Poison Center would not be able to continue if a 20% or 30% cut were implemented.
You want to see me in a panic? Take away the one service I rely on to have my back immediately after my child does something dangerous. I can't always get info in a timely manner from my pediatrician. The emergency room takes too long to get to my emergency. I NEED the Poison Control Center.
I realize that most of my readers aren't Oregonians, but you may want to check to see if the same thing is happening in your neck of the woods. If you do live here, I URGE you to please take action by contacting one (or all) member(s) of the Joint Ways and Means Committee to express your support of Oregon Poison Center. There is a sample letter to send out or you can write your own. It's easy, and necessary.
The Poison Control Center should not be one of those programs that die because of budget cuts. Please, support SaveOPC.com and save what I believe is the most valuable resource a parent can have. Otherwise, who you gonna call?