5 Simple Steps For Laundry Room Safety

5 Simple Steps For Laundry Room Safety

*This post is sponsored by the American Cleaning Institute to help parents understand how important it is to practice laundry safety, including properly storing and handling laundry packets. You can find our disclosure page here.

Children are so naturally curious

In the early baby days, I knew if I walked away for a few minutes that my babies would be in the exact spot I left them. Therefore, the urgency to child-proof every nook and cranny in our home wasn’t there…yet. After all, they were completely immobile for almost the first year of life!

But with each new, curious day comes another baby milestone (or so it seemed).

First, it’s the rollover (so exciting!). Then baby develops an army crawl. And, before you know it, they pull themselves up to a stand.

Then, boom, you have your very own baby-walking machine! A little unstable, but a baby on the move nonetheless. All the while putting anything and everything they come in contact with into their mouths.

As exciting and adorable as it is to watch, it is also the time those curious minds can do their wobbly, little Frankenstein walk and come into contact with substances that they should not touch – such as household cleaning supplies… 

So, in case you didn’t already know: now is the time to make sure your house is 100% baby-proofed! No excuses!

Safety first, always

As an emergency room nurse, I have witnessed first-hand plenty of accidents involving children that could have been prevented- including the ingestion of household items. It only takes a second for those tiny, delicate hands to get into trouble when a home isn’t properly child-proofed.

But I get it, I’m a mom too – parenthood can be overwhelmingly busy and I also sometimes feel I’m being run over by a tiny human army I created myself (and I usually am!).

It is so easy to forget to child-proof your home when you have 1,000 things on your to-do list. But if you take a few simple steps and have systems in place that will prevent accidents from happening, then it will make your life so much easier in the long run. Especially if something bad happens that could have easily been prevented.

Babies and children of all ages need safe spaces to move around and learn in safe environments. Many accidents that bring our little ones to the emergency room can be prevented and avoided altogether.

So in honor of Emergency Nurses Week in October and my desire to encourage other parents to take an active stance in child-proofing their homes, my #1 safety message this year is to encourage parents to put their Packets UP!

Keep laundry packets up and away from kids!

Don’t forget to child proof the laundry room

The laundry room is one of those places in the home that is the last to be childproofed, if it even gets child-proofed at all.

That’s why I’ve partnered up with the American Cleaning Institute to help parents understand how important it is to practice laundry safety, including properly storing and handling liquid laundry packets. Accidents involving liquid laundry packets are 100% preventable!

I’m talking about taking simple steps to keep the laundry room safe at all times. By putting a few simple systems in place, you won’t have to worry about accidental poisoning and you will be proactively preventing avoidable child injuries.

Think of it like this: Playtime + child-proofed home = SAFE SPACE for baby and child growth and learning opportunities!

(The ER nurse in me geeks out about safety-proofing.  You should see our home – even my husband has a hard time getting into closets and drawers.  But at least I know our kids are safe!).

Laundry room safety. Packets up!

Keep the laundry room safe by keeping your packets up!

Simple child safety tips in the laundry room

Step #1: Keep liquid laundry packets out of reach

Keep all laundry products in a designated out of reach and in an area that children can’t get into.

If you don’t have a cabinet with doors to hide your cleaning products available, place liquid laundry packets (in the original packaging) into a larger bin with other laundry and household products and put it up high where children won’t be able to see it.  

Step #2: Don’t keep laundry packets on display

While clear or glass jars can be an Instagram-worthy way to display household items, storing liquid laundry packets visibly in these jars could attract unwanted attention from young children. Always keep liquid laundry packets tightly secured in their original packaging, stored up and out of reach.

Step #3: Keep laundry packets separate from groceries

When purchasing laundry packets and other household cleaners from the store, have them bagged separately and put them away in their designated safe storage spot – out of sight and out of reach – as soon as you get home and unpack your groceries.  

Step #4: Make safety checks a priority

Conduct routine safety checks in the home to prevent accidents.

Tip: Consider making a sign in the laundry room to remind yourself to check your laundry packets and make sure they are stored properly and out of children’s reach. That way use can ensure safety each time you do the laundry. If you have a housekeeper or someone else who does the laundry, have a conversation with them about how important it is that they also follow your laundry room safety rules.  All adults in the house need to be on the same page.

Toddler playing with household cleaners at home

If a liquid laundry packet is ingested:

Call the Poison Help Line immediately at 1-800-222-1212.

In conclusion

I hope this messaging can help parents understand how important it is to practice laundry safety, including properly storing and handling laundry packets. Safety is the number one message here, and I hope this helps to encourage and remind all parents to find simple ways to keep all laundry products up and away from little ones in the home.

Let’s have ZERO accidental laundry product accidents this and every year. Safety first!!

Remember these key laundry packet safety points:

  • It is so important to store liquid laundry packets up high and out of sight and reach.
  • Don’t forget to completely close and seal liquid laundry packet containers after use.
  • Finally, always store liquid laundry packets in their original containers.

For more information about the Packets Up campaign:

Visit packetsup.com for more information and tools to help you prevent exposures from liquid laundry packets.  You can also join the conversation: follow #PacketsUp for the latest laundry room safety tips and information.   

Order a free cling and put it on your cabinet as a safe storage reminder.

Stay safe!

Why ER Nurses Are The Best

Why ER Nurses Are The Best

(This post may contain affiliate links.  You can find my disclosure page here.)

As a resource nurse who has worked in many specialties and units all over the hospital setting, I have discovered that I am an ER nurse at heart.  Here are the reasons why I think being an ER nurse is the best.  

I love the camaraderie in the ER.

In between the traumas, code brains, septic patients, strokes, fast track and other walk in emergency room patients, ER nurses communicate frequently with each other.  It’s all about teamwork.  In the ER nurses often have their own sections, but there are also many “resource” nurses on the floor to assist with additional patient care. When a patient arrives with a more serious condition, there are always nurses who come in to help.

When it gets stressful in the ER, the nurses depend on each other to get the work done. Many patients come into the ER in urgent situations where the cause of injury or disease isn’t yet known.  Nurses have to work together to triage and effectively treat patients, often times without all the facts.   Doctors, nurses, techs, pharmacists and other medical professionals cohesively work together to give fast life-saving medical treatment.

On med surg floor units, nurses are assigned to the same patients for an entire day without much, if any, overlap with other nurses.  At times I have often felt lonely on med surg units because I miss the camaraderie of working together with other nurses.   

I start several IVs and do all my own blood work in the ER.

Before I became an ER nurse, my IV start skills were mediocre at best.  Now, my IV skills are so much better and I am able to get intravenous access in some of the most difficult veins. This is a result of having frequent opportunities to start IVs during each ER shift.

The very best IV nurses are the ones who are constantly challenged with patients who are difficult IV sticks.  To gain valuable IV start skills you want to put yourself in position to have as many opportunities to learn as possible.  The ER is a perfect place for that.  

It makes sense that ER nurses are great at starting IVs. In emergencies ER nurses need to be able to gain access fast for testing, various medications, pain and nausea relief, IV hydration and antibiotic therapy, among other things.  Many of the nurses I work with have been in the ER for a decade or longer and their IV skills are unbelievable. Several nurses are even trained to do ultrasound guided IV starts on patients with hard-to-stick veins.

Reasons Why ER Nursing Is The Best

I love caring for a varied patient population.

Every day is an adventure. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but it’s never boring in the ER. I have had patients ranging in age from 2 days to over 100 years old. Patients come to the ER with every type of illness, injury and trauma you can think of.  Our patient loads include, but is not limited to: various types of trauma patients, septic patients, elderly patients, organ transplanted patients, patients with cancer or autoimmune diseases, psych patients, small children and babies, and so much more. There is rarely a dull moment and always something new to learn.

I love the organized chaos in the ER.

It is never boring or tedious in the ER, or at least not for long!  The emergency room is a fine-tuned machine with each nurse component working semi-gracefully around one another. From the outside it might look like craziness, but the madness always has a method.

I often struggle with the tediousness of tasks when working on a med surg unit.  It is often extremely busy, but very task-based.  The to-do lists can get a little ridiculous.

I love the intellectual stimulation I get in the ER.  

I am a closet science geek. And I love the cerebral stimulation that I get as an emergency room nurse. I have had the opportunity to see more disease states, complex injuries and unusual diagnoses then I ever could have imagined even existed.

It would not be an exaggeration to say I learn ten new things everyday at work. To top it off, I am surrounded by some of the most intelligent people I have ever met. Many of my co-workers have the same drive for helping people I do. They motivate me to keep learning.

I maintain my sense of humor in the ER.

Sometimes things just get so odd that I can’t help but laugh. There are days when I see people come into the ER saying that they are dying, but end up having a diagnosis of constipation. Once I had a college student come in for a temperature of 99 degrees. I’m like, seriously? How do you even get through the day?

The emergency room is also a very emotional place. Patients never want to be there and usually don’t understand, for example, why they have to wait in the hallway an hour or even much longer until their test results are completed or the medical team decides on a plan for them. They get upset and tired of waiting.  Sadly, sometimes they take out their frustrations on the people working the hardest to get them the medical treatment they need: the nurses.

I  have had so many “I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried” experiences in the emergency room to last me a lifetime. But that’s one of of the reasons I like being in the ER versus other parts of the hospital. It can get weird, but I’m always learning. And I’m so grateful for the opportunity to keep learning.

What specialty do you love?  If you could change and do one thing what would it be?  I love hearing from readers.  Please leave a comment!

Additional Recommended Reading:

My “About Me” Page and Our Huffington Post Interview

My “About Me” Page and Our Huffington Post Interview

My “About Me” page

If you have taken a peek over at my About Me page you may have read that nursing was NOT my first career.  If fact, I did’t even discover that I had a calling for nursing until after I had been working in the medical sales field for about 9 years.

Ill press rewind for just a minute…   Once upon a time, I worked in the competitive field of surgical equipment sales for a fortune 100 company and a few medical device startups.

I knew I didn’t love the career, but I made a pretty good living.  It also allowed me to travel for work and I was able to afford to take a lot of incredible overseas trips.  After a few years in the sales grind, I knew I wanted to do other things.  The problem was that my resume said I was a medical device salesperson.  So what was I supposed to do?

That voice in the back of my head continued gnawing at me, little by little.  Every day a small piece of my soul was being eaten up by working in a career that I had no real passion for.

Until finally one day, after a near mental break down I made the difficult decision to leave the field.  I went on a quest in pursuit of greater clinical medical knowledge and a desire to help humankind.  After years of scratching my head I had finally discovered my new path.

I was going to become a Nurse!

It has been 9 years since my near mental breakdown that forced me to make an incredible life change.  Nursing school was one of the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  But I am so thankful everyday that I did it.  Ultimately, it was the best decision for myself and and for my family.

nurse power

Here I am showing off my badge bloom…

Our Huffington Post Interview

My whole point in writing this post was to talk about a really cool experience that I had recently…

A journalist at the Huntington Post recently contacted me through my blog.  She asked if my husband and I would be interested in being interviewed for a piece that she was doing about what it was like being married to an ER nurse.   Of course I said yes!

(I was a journalism major in college and still have an itch to write, which is one of the reasons I blog).

Nursing is challenging.

I want to be an advocate for nurses because I think we tolerate things that would never be tolerated in any other field (but we do it anyway because we’re awesome).   I also really, really want to find a way to help nurses take better care of themselves.  Plus, I am extremely passionate about being a nurse and have a passion for helping others.  So, I was excited to share some of my thoughts (and I was also intrigued to see what my husband had to say about being married to an ER nurse).

If you are still reading this and want to take a look at our Huffington Post article you can read it here.

Thank you for reading my blog and free free to leave a comment.  I appreciate that your took the time to read this!

Sarah

I Love Being An Emergency Room Nurse:  How Adopting A New Specialty Reignited My Passion For Nursing

I Love Being An Emergency Room Nurse: How Adopting A New Specialty Reignited My Passion For Nursing

Have I mentioned how much more I am loving my job now since I started working as an emergency room nurse?

A year ago I was a per diem resource nurse who worked on multiple different med/surg and telemetry floors all over our hospital. Being a resource nurse works well for me due to the flexibility it gives me as a working Mom.

But unfortunately, I was becoming incredibly burnt out. Bitter even. I was losing my passion and I started to wonder if I was due for a career change-up.

I even went so far as to interview for a few medical device companies as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (I was a medical device salesperson before my career change into nursing). Needless to say, I am so glad I decided not to accept any of those positions!

Instead, I adopted a new specialty as an RN in the emergency room and reignited my passion for nursing and healthcare. When the opportunity came up for me to interview for cross-training into my own hospital’s level 1 trauma center, I jumped on it. I started my ER journey on Easter Sunday 2017.

I have always thought of the ER as a scary portal into the hospital. We are often overbooked with patients and the load can be relentless. There are sometimes grim patient situations and sometimes patients die, despite every life-saving effort.

You will be hard pressed to find medical professionals who deal with more stress and pressure then emergency room nurses. But I am grateful to expand on my med/surg and telemetry knowledge base and learn a new specialty.

Here are my top 6 reasons that I love being an emergency room nurse:

My IV start skills are so much better.

A good vien is what dreams are made of

Since becoming a nurse in the emergency room my IV start skills have gotten so much better.

In an emergency we need to be able to start IV’s fast for testing, various medications, pain and nausea relief, IV hydration and antibiotic therapy, among other things.

Fortunately in the ER, I get the opportunity to start anywhere from 5 or more IV’s in a single shift. So I have the opportunity to perfect my skills frequently on many patients who are difficult IV sticks.

Many of the nurses I work with have been in the ER for a decade or longer and their IV skills are unbelievable. Several nurses are even trained to do ultrasound guided IV starts on patients with hard-to-stick veins.

There is an enormous variety in our patient population.

Every day is an adventure. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but never boring. I have had patients ranging in age from 2 days to 108 years. Patients have arrived with complaints from hiccups, to every type of accident you can imagine and everything in between.

As one would expect, many of our patients are really sick or critically injured. Our patient loads include: various types of trauma patients, septic patients, elderly patients, organ transplanted patients, patients with cancer or autoimmune diseases, psych patients, and small children and babies, and so much more. There is rarely a dull moment and always something new to learn.

The teamwork in the emergency room is impressive.

The coordination when a trauma patient arrives is amazing. Patients come in to the ER in urgent situations where the cause if injury or disease isn’t yet known. Doctors, nurses, techs, pharmacists and other medical professionals cohesively work together to give fast life-saving medical treatment.

In addition, emergency room nurses often have their own sections but there are also many “resource” nurses on the floor to assist with additional patient care. When a patient arrives with a more serious condition, there are always nurses who come in to help.

For example: we call a “code” for septic, stroke and head trauma patients. It is an overhead call to other nurses in the ER that a particular room needs additional help. Within seconds there are a handful or more nurses in the room helping with triage, initial assessments, IV sticks, blood draws, and many other nurse protocols and procedures.

The emergency room moves fast.

Many call it “organized chaos.” The emergency room is fine-tuned machine with each nurse component working semi-gracefully around one another. From the outside it might look like craziness, but the madness always has a method.

I am constantly learning.

I am a closet science geek. And I love the cerebral stimulation that I get as an emergency room nurse. I have had the opportunity to see more disease states, complex injuries and unusual diagnoses then I ever could have imagined even existed.

It would not be an exaggeration to say I learn ten new things everyday at work. To top it off, I am surrounded by some of the most intelligent people I have ever met. Many of my co-workers have the same drive for helping people I do. They motivate me to keep learning.

I just have to laugh at some of the stuff I see.

Nursing is a work of heart

Nursing is a work of heart.

Please forgive me for saying this. This may seem inappropriate but it is how I maintain my resiliency.

The emergency room is a very emotional place. Patients never want to be there and usually don’t understand, for example, why they have to wait in the hallway an hour or even much longer until their test results are completed or the medical team decides on a plan for them. They get upset and tired of waiting.

Sadly, sometimes they take out there frustrations on the people working the hardest to get them the medical treatment they need: the nurses.

Sometimes things just get so odd that I can’t help but laugh. There are days when I see people come into the ER saying that they feel like dying, but end up having a diagnosis of constipation. Once I had a college student come in for a temperature of 99 degrees. I’m like, seriously? How do you even get through the day?

I have had so many “I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried” experiences in the emergency room to last me a long time. But that’s one of of the reasons I like being in the ER versus other parts of the hospital. It can get weird, but I’m always learning. And I’m so grateful for the opportunity to keep learning.
Are you an emergency room nurse? Have you always worked there? Have you tried any other specialties? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love

How Pediatric Nurse Training Reminded Me To Have More Gratitude

How Pediatric Nurse Training Reminded Me To Have More Gratitude

When you have your health, you have everything.

My experiences as a nurse have taught me that having good health makes you the richest person in the world. On another hand, being ill makes life seem poor even if you are monetarily wealthy. It’s too bad you can’t buy your way out of an illness.

I deplore being sick. For me, illness goes something like this:

One day I’m feeling great! Then the next I wake up feeling achy and lethargic. A scratchy, sore throats kicks in and swallowing makes my throat feel like sandpaper. Everything hurts. I feel like dying. Life sucks. The end.

Just kidding. I’m not that dramatic. I’m just trying to make a point, but for the record I personally do not handle being sick well. Luckily, I rarely get sick (knock on wood!).

Recently, I received news that I was selected to ‘master in’ as a Resource Nurse in the Emergency Room. It is a 3 month in-unit training program that includes an additional 50 hours of classroom training and testing. After completion of the program I will officially be an ER nurse. Yay!

I am ecstatic about the opportunity for emergency and critical care training as it will build my skill set and hopefully make me a better nurse. Additionally, I will have to be trained in pediatrics which is a whole new specialty for me. I am excited about that too, but the Mom in me is a little nervous about seeing kids in pain or any kind of suffering.

As part of my preparation for training this week I completed a Pediatric Advanced Life Support Certification course and shadowed a Pediatric nurse for a 12-hour shift. While I am still very far from being competent in Pediatric nursing, it was an informative opportunity to be exposed to the kinds of things Pediatric nurses do on a day to day basis.

There is one overwhelming thought that has stayed with me since my experience working on a Pediatric Unit:

I am so grateful that my child is healthy.

We are lucky to live in a world where there are so many medical professionals who dedicate their lives towards helping sick children (and all people of course, but for the purpose of this post I am talking about Pediatrics). Working with very ill or injured children is challenging and emotionally draining. Yet the nurses I shadowed on the Pediatric unit are happy to be there. Most importantly, they are competent and knowledgeable.

I am grateful.

Pediatric nurse training reinforced my gratitude for having a healthy child.

Up until now my nursing career has involved working with adult patients 18 and older. The shifts can be exhausting to say the least. At the end of my 12 hours I am often too tired and emotionally drained to even think about talking about many of the sad and difficult situations that unfortunately occur. Its often easier just to block it out of my head and move on.

Soon the ER will be my new place of work and my new job description will include children and even babies. There will be situations that are critical and possibly catastrophic. As a Mom (and obsessive lover of small humans) I will have a lot of adjusting to do in this new area.

Practicing gratitude is so important (especially for the gift of healthy children!)

When life gets busy it is easy to take a child’s health for granted. You assume they will be healthy because they have always been healthy.

Mama and baby.

Gratitude for the opportunity to be a Mama.

Between all the cooking, cleaning, working, errands, play dates, and (fill in the space here) time slips away and it is so easy to forget to focus on the magnificent joy of having a child who is free from illness or injury. The only time people often think about health is when it is no longer there.

Gratitude is just a way parents can pay attention to the gift of good health today. No one can predict what will happen tomorrow so you might as well live in the moment!

Imagine that your child was sick and had to be in the hospital for an extended period of time. Or worse, if they were in an accident or received a devastating life threatening prognosis.

I have never experienced any of these scenarios myself. But I imagine they would probably be the hardest thing I would ever have to deal with as a parent. In my years as a nurse, I have seen a lot of families at the hospital in similar situations. I’m not sure where they find their strength and I’m sure in those moments they take nothing for granted.

Gratitude keeps us grounded and in the present moment.

Gratitude allows for positive energy to permeate in the NOW and not stuck in an annoying situation that has passed.

It’s important to understand the difference between normal difficult life situations and the kind of catastrophic situations that occur when your child is sick or injured. 99% of the negativity in our daily lives as parents isn’t really as bad as we make in in our minds if you really think how many good things are happening.

Hanging out with other Moms is like therapy for me. Venting to an extend is important. We get to talk about frustrations and experiences while surrounding ourselves with like-minded people who have the same interests: our children.

Newborn baby feet

I have gratitude for a healthy baby.

But too often gratitude is not present in many of these conversations and they can easily turn into a pessimistic venting session of who has it worse. I have heard many conversations with parents comparing their gloomy situations with other parents. Negativity is contagious. Next thing you know you are hyper-focused on the negative and completely overlooking the awesomeness of being a parent in the first place!
Gratitude puts child-rearing challenges and perceived annoyances into perspective.

Not everyone gets to have a healthy child, or even a child at all for that matter. Being a parent is a privilege.

There are parents who practically live at the hospital for weeks, months even years at a time because their child is sick. A ‘normal’ crazy busy day with their child at home would be the best gift in the world.

So when a child is being difficult it is important to remember that we are lucky enough to have healthy children to discipline in the first place. Not everyone gets that opportunity.

Here are a few ways to practice gratitude for continued good health!

1. Keep a gratitude journal

Intentionally choose gratitude. Writing down what you are grateful for consciously reminds you that even though parenthood is frustrating at times, the good stuff far outweighs the bad. It keeps you aligned with the positive aspects of parenthood that we should keep our energy focused on (like watching my kid have fun watching and playing with other kids).

2. Watch the language (internally and externally)

What you say and think becomes reality. In other words, if you think life sucks, then it does. That becomes your truth. Gratitude can also become your truth if you make it a habit.

Kids are sensitive and pick up on attitudes and the words coming out of their parents mouths. Fortunately, gratitude is also contagious!

3. Pray

Or meditate or have a positive mantra, whatever works for you. The point is to essentially say “thank you” and bring awareness to the positive aspects of parenthood. Meditation is my thing and it works for me every time. Especially as my daughter, Zoe becomes more independent and adorably (and sometimes frustratingly) sassy.

4. Take care of yourself!

Its hard to practice gratitude when you are too exhausted all the time. You know how when you are on an airplane and they say in an emergency that you need to put the mask on yourself first, then assist your children? Its pretty much the same thing here.

When your basic needs are being met it is so much easier to be grateful for the other miracles in your life.  So be nice to yourself.

Parenthood is a glorious, overwhelming and at times maddening thing and I am glad I’m in the thick of it. Zoe brings 1000 new levels of joy that I never knew existed prior to parenthood. I am so lucky that I can bask in gratitude that right now my child is healthy and happy and her parents are too.

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love