As reported by The Hartford Courant, January 25, 2010.

Lesson Learned from a Scary Taste of My Own Medicine

By Rebecca Stewart

My husband, son and I are sniffling and coughing our way through January.

At any moment, any one of us is on an antibiotic, anti-inflammatory or antiviral. My husband and I are careful with our medicines and keep them locked up, tucked away from small hands.

The other day, I measured a dose of children's ibuprofen for my son. He rarely fights medicine: It's syrupy and sweet. He sips it down with a smile. But that syrup leaves a sticky film in the dosage cup that I wanted to wash quickly, so I put the medicine up on a shelf and popped out of his room.

Big mistake.

Ten seconds later, I returned. My son was across the room; he had pulled the bottle from the shelf that I thought was out of reach and was chugging the bright orange liquid. "This tastes good!" he said, a huge smile across his face.

Panic set in.

It happens all the time, said Amy Hanoin-Fontana of the Connecticut Poison Control Center, which I called after grabbing the bottle.

"Kids are attracted to the scents, the taste, the colors and the pictures," Hanoin-Fontana said. "This happens across the age spectrum. From 9 to 102, the No. 1 poisoning we have to be careful about is medication."

Hanoin-Fontana said that more than 50 percent of poisonings reported to the center involve prescription and over-the-counter medicine.

Together we gauged how much my son had ingested, and it wasn't a toxic amount. Had it been another kind of medicine, like acetaminophen, we would have had to go to the emergency room.

My son is fine. But you can bet that next time, I'll wait before washing the cup. A few drops in the cup won't hurt anyone; a few too many ounces will.