Giving Medications to Children|
All medicines are chemicals. They have
wonderful healing properties, but they have the potential to cause harm if not used
properly. They should therefore be given exactly as prescribed. A good rule to
remember is the 5 RIGHT'S of medicines:
Right route (way to give)
Remember medicines are chemicals and chemicals
taste bad. The more dangerous the medicine the worse it tastes! The drug
companies don't want your child to love the medicine so much he drinks the bottle.
Unfortunately the taste is why you end up having a small scale war to get the medicine
in. Here are some do's & don't to help you win the
Allow as many choices as possible, which dropper or spoon,
before nap or after etc.
Have a special chaser i.e. soda, a favorite juice
Use a straw
Give a sticker or use a sticker chart
Use limits "you can't play Nintendo until you take your
Mix with a strong tasting food, (chocolate pudding is a good
always let them know the medicine is mixed in
Praise each spoonful
Be empathetic but firm
Call medicine candy
Hide it in food unless you tell the child first, (he may
never eat applesauce again!)
Give in and skip a dose!
Infants are a special
category, and really the easiest age to give medicines. If you don't already have
one, invest in either a calibrated medicine dropper or a medicine syringe, each should be
available in your drug store. Purse the baby's lips together and place the dropper
in side the cheek, with the lips still pursed, slowly put the medicine in and keep lips
pursed until the baby swallows. This technique insures the majority will be
swallowed and not drooled out or, as he gets older, spit out!
Lastly a word about
side effects. In general changing stopping a medicine due to side effects is a
idea, unless the side effects are quite severe. The particular
drug prescribed was chosen for a reason and is probably the best one for the job!
The most common side effect is stomach upset and
diarrhea. While certainly unpleasant, this is rarely dangerous. We are causing
it and it will disappear when the medicine is stopped. For an infant, pack more
diapers and ointment; for a toddler, run to the bathroom. For other minor
side effects, finding similar temporary coping strategies is best.
If you feel either a
side effect or the struggle over taking medicine is truly becoming intolerable, a return
visit to the office will usually be necessary in order for us to help you find a
solution. It can be dangerous for us to prescribe new or alternative
medicines over the telephone, without re-examining the child and fully reassessing the