If you have a cell phone this "mom hack" is a necessity. And it's so easy, you're going to want to smack yourself for not having done it sooner.
Enter the number for Poison Control into your cell phone contacts list. No matter where you live in the USA, their number is 1-800-222-1222.
Trust me, when a child ingests poison or is in the throes of an allergic reaction, the last thing you need is to be hunting around for an emergency phone number.
The Longest Minute of My Life
Like most things in my life, I learned this one the hard way.
My daughter "Mini-Me" was about two years old and we were visiting her elderly grandparents. Somehow, Mini-Me had managed to find and open my MIL's "M-T-W-Th-F" pill box and eat God only knows how much of its contents before I even noticed she was hiding under the table with "Nonna's candy" (Mini-Me's exact words).
I shrieked "Oh my GOD! Mom! Your pills! Mini-Me just ate them!" I was in an absolute panic. I knew I needed to call the Poison Control Center, but we couldn’t find the phone book. Then, we couldn't find the cordless phone! If it weren't such a life-threatening situation, I would have called it a comedy of errors. I ended up calling 911 from my cell phone (after having to run down the driveway to get reception). On top of that, my equally panicked MIL could not remember which pills she had already taken that day, so we had no way of knowing exactly what my daughter had ingested. It was truly terrifying.
The 911 dispatcher must have transferred me to Poison Control, but I seem to recall the transfer process being the longest minute of my life.
As it turns out, my daughter was fine. We didn't even have to get her stomach pumped, thank God. Poison Control advised that we just watch her closely for the next week, because we eventually concluded that she had swallowed one or two of my MIL's blood thinners.
The second I got off the phone with Poison Control that day, I knew I needed to have their number pre-programmed into my speed dial so I would be ready for the next emergency.
And thank goodness I did, because lo and behold, just last weekend while camping with my daughter's scout troop, one of the girls got stung by a poisonous caterpillar, of all things. The poor thing's hand swelled up like a balloon and she was obviously in a lot of pain. I was the only adult there with this critical number at the touch of my fingertips. A guy named Bart at Poison Control was able to calmly walk me through what to do to help this little girl, and we all lived to tell the harrowing tale.
Depending on what kind of phone you have, you can make it even easier to quickly access this number when you have an emergency.
I used to have the kind of phone that would automatically order my contacts list alphabetically and it was difficult to search for specific names. I hacked around this by labeling my most important contacts like this: "1-Poison Control," "2-Emergency Contact Person," "3-Pizza Delivery," etc. By prefacing with the numbers 1, 2, 3..., these entries automatically appeared at the very top of my phone directory.
I have an iPhone now and can quickly search for Poison Control by swiping my finger to the right across my home screen and typing "POI" into the search bar. I also have Poison Control listed as one of my "favorites" so I can access it quickly from within my phone menu as well.
Please, take a minute to do this life-saving mom hack. If you are ever faced with a poison related emergency you will be so glad you did.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.