Giving a child medicine
Giving a child medicine can be a challenge. Do not ask your child to take medicine. Rather, approach the child in a firm, positive manner to give medicine. If the child refuses, be firm. Explain why the medicine must be taken.
Below are some tips that will help you safely give medicine to your child:
- Make certain you know about the medications you are giving your child. This process begins when you have the prescription filled. Ask the pharmacist to explain the medication, what it does, when it is to be taken and any possible side effects. Make certain you tell the pharmacist about any other medications your child is taking. If your child has allergies, tell the pharmacist as well as your child's doctor.
- Never give your child someone else's medicine.
- Give your child the exact dose. Do not skip or add doses. If you forget a dose, do not make up for it by giving two doses the next time.
- Do not give your child medications other than those your doctor has prescribed. Combining certain medicines in the body at the same time can be dangerous.
- Medicines may cause side effects, such as drowsiness, an upset stomach or a rash. Your child's doctor or pharmacist will tell you what to watch for and whether you should call for advice.
- If your child has trouble taking a pill, ask your pharmacist if another form of the medicine is available.
- If your child spits a little medicine out, do not give an extra amount.
- Some children do not like the taste of medicine. Some medicines may be mixed with a little food or liquid. Before you do this, talk to the pharmacist as some medications should not be taken with certain foods, or in some cases, with food at all.
- When giving a liquid medicine, angle the syringe or dropper toward the inside of the cheek and toward the back of the mouth. If the child tries to spit, gently hold the cheeks together.
- Give medicines to children when they are sitting.
- It may be helpful if at least two responsible family members know how to give a medicine to a child.
- If the child vomits right after the medicine is given, you may repeat the dose. (You should be able to see the medicine in the vomit.) Wait 10 minutes before giving another dose. If the child vomits again, call your child's doctor or clinic for advice.
For the general safety of your entire family:
- Store medicines away from children in a locked box or cabinet. Do not store medicines in your purse. Be alert to the fact that children may find medicines in a visitor's purse or suitcase and eat them thinking they are candy. Watch your children to make sure they do not get into medicines left out when visiting other's homes.
- Store medicines in a cool, dry place, away from the sun.
- Store medicines in their own containers. To avoid confusion, do not mix pills from different bottles.
- If a medicine is more than 6 months old, check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if it is still safe.
- If the supply of medicine runs low, call for a refill three to four days before it runs out.