A 2-year-old boy was flown to hospital from Great Barrier Island yesterday after he ate up to 50 ibuprofen pills.

Paramedic Stefan Gabor said the boy had been left alone in a car for a short time around 7pm.

When his mother came back he had a "chalky mouth" and had got into Nurofen and Clonazepam, a drug used to treat anxiety.

His mother knew how much medication was gone and estimated he could have had up to 50 tablets.


She took him to a Claris medical centre and the doctor called the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

Gabor, 43, said that even though the boy was in quite a good mood he was in serious condition due to the amount of medicine he had potentially consumed.

"We transported him to Starship Hospital.

"He was happy, he liked the flight. He was looking around sitting on mum's lap with his toys in his hands.

"He was in a serious condition because of the potential amount of medication he had. [His] mum was pretty sure how many were missing. He had enough to be a cause of concern."

The boy is now in a stable condition.

Mums have flooded out in support with their children's own pill-popping misadventures on the Herald Facebook page.

Debbie Martin posted that her son also did this when he was two. He was put in her parents' bed for a nap. When he woke up he got into some sleeping pills. Martin explained that even if you take precautions, a child's curiosity can lead them to medication you had not considered.


"When I went to check on him about half an hour later he was asleep. Left him for three hours and got up bathed but still very floppy and sleepy and went to get something from the room and noticed the pill bottle by the bed."

Alarm bells rang for her. She phoned the medical centre, rang the ambulance and he was taken to Starship for observation.

A similar incident happened to Pamela Colombick in 2008. She posted to Facebook that she wasn't sure which of her twins had eaten the pills, so she had to take both in to hospital.

"Such an unimaginable trauma for them to be held down and [have their] stomachs flushed.

"My kids were okay after a night in hospital, but it was a painful lesson to learn."

Colombick cautioned other parents to beware of handbags lying around, as they could have prescription medication in a side pocket.

Sarah-jane Brodie told how kids can get into anything if they are given a chance. She once left her 1-year-old asleep on her bed for half an hour when she heard him screaming.

"He had woken up and found a tube of Deep Heat beside my bed and rubbed it all over his face and had it in his eyes and mouth, he ended up spending the night in hospital as his face was so swollen."