General Health

“I Gave My Child Phenergan and They Wouldn’t Wake Up”. Mum’s Timely Warning to Others

Our top priority as parents is keeping our kids alive. We are all too familiar with the threat of hayfever and allergies, the soul exhaustion of our children being unable to sleep, or the fear of vomit when travelling with a motion-challenged youngster. When our kids suffer, we might reach for medications like Phenergan, without knowing all the risks.

And while Phenergan (Promethazine) can be a great help, it also has some serious dangers that parents need to know about before giving it to their kids.

Phernergan Side Effects are Not Always Obvious

Did You Know You Shouldn’t Give Phenergan to Kids Under Two?  Neither did I. Had I known, things would have been very different.

You see one night, we were having dinner with my mum, her boyfriend, and my younger siblings. My child was sitting on my stepfather’s knee, and he gave them some Chinese food. My child was allergic to peanuts, and while it wasn’t a lethal allergy, it was enough to worry me endlessly.

At 18 months, they accidentally ingested a peanut treat at daycare (this was way before they started banning these foods), and our GP suggested we try Phenergan to alleviate the after-effects.

I gave them the recommended dose and put them to bed, hoping they would sleep for a few hours, so I could have some sleep myself. We had not long moved into our first home, and it was just me and my baby. A 21-year-old and almost 2-year-old.

Blessed With A Full Night Sleep?

When my child was still asleep at midnight, I thanked the universe and went to bed.

I woke up fully rested and went to check on my child, who was still asleep. I called my mum, who suggested they really needed the sleep and it had only been 12 hours. In my naivety, I busied myself cleaning and getting dinner ready.

22 hours after I gave them one dose of Phenergan, they woke up. And I know what you’re thinking. How could I let that happen? It’s a question I have wondered about and kept myself awake with for 23 years. I simply didn’t know any better. I wasn’t given the correct information by an aging GP who should have retired years beforehand. And I trusted the medical professional. As we all do.

I was incredibly lucky things didn’t end differently. I have never used this medication since.

What Should I Have Been Told?

I should have been told this medication isn’t recommended for kids under two. I should have been made aware of potential side effects like severe tiredness, confusion, and hallucinations to name a few.

I should have had the forethought to read them in their entirety myself.

Other Parents Share Similar Experiences

On the advice of her nan, young mum, Melissa, took Phenergan with her when her family, including her three-year-old son, went on an international trip to Europe. He handled the flight fine, and they forgot all about it until they were driving through the Pyrenees Mountains on their way from France to Andorra.

Her youngster got car sick and they remembered the Phenergan and decided to give him some as they navigated the stomach-churning twists and turns of windy roads and tunnels.

car-sick-child-taking-phenergan
Source: Bigstock

Once they reached their destination, their little one would not wake up. They walked for four kilometres carrying their son, who was a dead weight as he slept.

Once in their room, they managed to wake him only for him to be drowsy, nonsensical and had to be spoon-fed his dinner. Like me, Melissa can laugh about the situation now, but she’s never taken that of advice again.

In a Facebook post comment, Trish said she gave her 10-month-old daughter half of the prescribed dose when she was teething, and she slept for 14 hours. She also vowed to never use it again. It was 35 years ago, but she remembers it as such a scary experience.

Ashlee says it’s no worse than Panadol and uses it regularly for her allergy kid. She comments it has different effects on different people.

A different Melissa said it worked for one of her kids but affected another mentally.

Jay said it was common in the 1970s and 1980s and mums, in the UK where Jay lives, would carry it in their bags and would use it whenever they wanted their kids to sleep.

phenergan-medicine-and-tabletsWhat Does Phenergan Do To The Body?

It helps with allergies, insomnia, motion sickness, nausea, and certain mental health disorders. It works by blocking certain natural substances in the body that can cause symptoms like itching, runny nose, sneezing, or upset stomach. It regulates chemicals in the brain and is a sedative substance.

What Are The Side Effects?

The side effects range from mild to extremely dangerous and include:

Mild Side Effects:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Mild skin rash or itching
  • Feeling restless or excited (especially in children)

Moderate Side Effects:

  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Feeling nervous or anxious
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Increased sensitivity to sunlight

Severe Side Effects:

  • Severe drowsiness or confusion
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Irregular heartbeat or chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing or wheezing
  • Severe skin reactions such as blistering or peeling
  • Muscle stiffness or tremors
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

It’s important to seek medical attention if you experience any severe side effects or if concerned about any symptoms while taking Phenergan.

Always read the leaflet included with the medication and watch for side effects and conditions that might prevent using the medication. It can be terrifying when your child has an adverse or unexpected reaction to something that’s supposed to help them.

To quote the Boy Scouts: Be prepared.

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Avatar of Tina Evans

Tina Evans is a complete introvert, an avid reader of romance novels, horror novels and psychological thrillers. She’s a writer, movie viewer, and manager of the house menagerie: three kelpies, one cat, a fish, and a snake. She loves baking and cooking and using her kids as guinea pigs. She was a teenage parent and has learned a lot in twenty-three years of parenting. Tina loves Christmas and would love to experience a white Christmas once in her life. Aside from writing romance novels, she is passionate about feminism, equality, sci-fi, action movies and doing her part to help the planet.

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