…….Ok, that’s a lie. Only one child was harmed, but he is feeling much better now!
As a family, we practice good oral hygiene. I am the son of a dentist, which makes Justin the grandson of a dentist. Justin playfully refers to his grandfather as “Papa.” However, when he is in “Papa’s” dental office getting his teeth checked, he is all business and formally refers to my dad as “Doctor Papa.” Clean teeth are a priority!
As per his usual routine, several nights ago Justin went into our bathroom to brush his teeth. While he was in there, GWE and I sat at the kitchen table and for a few quiet moments we got a chance to catch up with one another. All of a sudden we heard Justin grunting from the bathroom. The grunts quickly got higher and louder as Justin ran into the kitchen yelling, “HOT, HOT, HOT!!” He looked panicked and there was a white, toothpaste-like foam coming out of his mouth as if he was a rabid dog. GWE and I looked at each other and thought the same thing, “It’s toothpaste. How hot could it be?”
Justin became more panicked and screamed more, “HOTHOTHOTHOTHOTHOT!!!!!” GWE quickly took him over to the kitchen sink and washed out his mouth with cold water. When all of the toothpaste had been washed away, he continued to writhe in pain. “IT BURNS!!!!!” he complained. GWE turned to Justin and asked, “Did you use toothpaste?” He nodded yes. She responded, “Show me.”
Together, they went back to the bathroom. Not 15 seconds had passed when I heard, “JASON – GET IN HERE NOW!!” I ran to the bathroom. GWE turned to Justin and instructed him to show me which toothpaste he used. (Keep in mind, there are usually 2 or 3 toothpaste tubes behind the faucet.) Justin reached over and slid open a drawer on my side of the bathroom. He pulled out a box, opened it, and showed me the tube of “paste” he had used to brush his teeth. He had accidentally used “Icy Hot.”
GWE continued to rinse Justin’s mouth with cold water as I re-opened the package to see if there were any warnings regarding accidentally ingesting the product. Halfway down the back of the box it states: “WARNING: Keep out of reach of children. In case of accidental ingestion, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.”
Without causing any alarm to my wife or child, I briskly walked back into the kitchen and looked for the emergency contact numbers. I found the number for poison control. (It’s 1-800-222-1222, if you should ever need it.) A pleasant, English-speaking woman answered the phone. I informed her that my son had brushed his teeth with Icy Hot and I wanted to know what I needed to do.
She calmly asked me Justin’s age and weight. She then asked if he actually swallowed any of the paste. At this point, Justin and GWE were standing by me in the kitchen. I leaned down and asked, “Justin, did you swallow any of that toothpaste?” He answered “no.” I relayed that to the operator. She responded with the following: based on his age and weight, he would have had to ingest several tablespoons of Icy Hot for there to be a problem. But, just to be safe, she suggested making him drink a glass of milk. We gave him the milk and forced him to drink every last drop.
It took a few moments for the tension of this incident to pass, but once it did – Justin was fine (although GWE is still psychologically scarred from this event.) While tucking Justin into bed later that night, I once again asked him if he was okay. He replied, “Yes daddy. But, I don’t like that toothpaste. It tasted minty-hot.”