Bubblegum-Flavored Medicine Raises Suspicion

September 29, 2014

in Illness/Medical Stories

A couple of years ago, my five-year old daughter and I were flying from Toronto to Tampa to visit my parents who were wintering in Florida. Unfortunately when we left, my daughter had a mild illness (just the kind of routine thing that kids get) and had been prescribed liquid antibiotics for it, as at that point she wasn’t able to swallow pills.

Knowing we were flying and that I would never put meds in my checked luggage, I got the pharmacist to only hydrate half of the prescription and to give me a second bottle with the non-hydrated meds to hydrate after my daughter finished the first bottle. I thought it would help us get through the 3 ounce liquid issue at customs easier.

Leaving Toronto, I simply told them I had a bottle of liquid antibiotics and they just had me show them the bottle. They didn’t even x-ray it, which was nice and hassle-free.

Coming home was something different altogether. My daughter had finished the first bottle and I had added water to the second. When we got to customs I did the exact same thing as I did in Toronto, telling the customs official that I had a bottle of liquid antibiotics. This time that wasn’t good enough. As if I didn’t look the part: single white woman with child carrying a booster seat and bubblegum-flavored antibiotics.

First, they x-rayed it twice. Then they took my daughter and me aside so that they could do further tests on the liquid. At every step the customs official refused to even touch the bottle (even wearing gloves). They asked me to open the bottle, then they did some tests, including something that looked like a litmus test. Then I had to show a letter from my ex-husband showing that he had given me permission to take our child on vacation. Sometimes they ask for it, sometimes they don’t. I always have it on me. I’m not complaining; I know that it’s a safety issue. It just made the trip through customs that much longer.

Luckily, we had showed up at the airport early (when you’re single and travel internationally with a child you get there early), so the extra time at customs didn’t put us behind. However, let’s just say that juggling a child, our shoes, a bottle of open antibiotics, a booster seat, and my laptop wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had going through customs.

So, not really a “flight from hell,” especially with my daughter sleeping almost the whole way through it (both flights), but it was interesting to see the difference in how each customs individual dealt with a bottle of bubblegum-flavored antibiotics.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

sexygal September 30, 2014 at 6:14 pm

I'm glad and thankful that she was able to rest and sleep peacefully both ways!!!


Sonnenblume Madchen October 1, 2014 at 2:32 pm

I'm lucky that she's generally well behaved. In instances like flying or when we take the train, I don't have a problem handing out either some Benadryl or anti-motion sickness tablets that make her drowsy and encourage sleeping along the way. It cuts down on the inevitable "are we there yet?" questions as well as keeping her quiet for the comfort of those around us.


jelly October 9, 2014 at 6:12 am

Good issue


Maggie May 13, 2015 at 1:50 am

You sound like you really had your stuff together – bravo!


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