We know and love her as the no nonsense Dr. Miranda Bailey on ABC's Grey's Anatomy, but in real life Chandra Wilson is a working mother of three —Serena, 15, Joy, 10, and Michael, 3, — just trying to get it right. The acclaimed actress signed on as the spokesperson for OTCsafety.org's campaign to educate herself and fellow parents on the safe use of over-the-counter cough and cold medications. We recently had the opportunity to chat with the celebmama via phone. To see what she had to say about keeping cold syrup away from her young son and how she balances work and motherhood,
Q. The recommendation is to keep medications out of reach and sight of children. Does that mean mothers should not open the container in front of their children when pouring the dose?
Chandra Wilson: I know I certainly have done that. My son will be in his room and I'll bring the medicine in and then take it away. Now he's a smart kid so I'm sure he knows where it is, but it's not worth the effort to try and go for it. The sight recommendation is really about storing things away from their level. We want to think out of sight, out of mind. Don't store medicine in the place where they get their toothbrush in the morning.
Q. Is there any recommendation against pouring medicine into your kid's beverage? Many moms disguise their children's meds in orange juice or milk.:
Chandra Wilson: My instinct is to say that since it's not recommended that way on the label, then that's not what we should do.
OTCsafety.com: Parents need to make sure the child gets the exact dose recommended on the label or intended. And, there are some interactions that medicines have with certain foods.
Q. Spring break and Summer vacation are coming up and lots of mothers openly admit to giving their children Benadryl on airplanes. Are their fatalities or statistics associated with this practice or is misuse the general area of concern?
OTCsafety.org: What we call serious from being injured or rushed to the hospital to a fatality and though it is extremely rare, they do occur. In the most upfront research, those circumstances are generally because of misuse or kids getting a hold of medicine when their parent isn't around. Parents should not be using medicines to sedate their children. Make sure you also get that message to your babysitter and daycare center.
Chandra Wilson: Here's my non medical contribution to that. Even if your next door neighbor says it works for them, that is their child and they may react different than your child does. The recommendation to read the labels and treat symptoms rather than behavior makes absolute sense. We have to be careful where we get our advice from. Kids who haven't had adverse reactions from misuse of medication have lucked out.
Q. How do you balance work and motherhood?:
Chandra Wilson: Unfortunately, there's no magic to it. It's just the same dilemma that all working mothers and all where you assemble a support team so things are taken care of as far as who is getting to school and picked up. Fortunately, if one of the kids is on Spring break then they are able to come to work with me and that's not always the case. I put a plan in place at the beginning of the day and then make room for the human factor and at the end of the day I say, "Woohoo, I made it!" Some days it's going to work perfectly and other days we have to make some adjustments and it's the thing that we all do and we can't give up. We just get up and do it over again the next day.