Giving Medicine : Safety Information Parents Need to Know

Oct 02, 2012 No Comments by

To be sure that your child gains the maximum benefit from medication, with the least risk, always observe these rules:

Kids and Medicine Safety

Kids and Medicine Safety

  1. Do not give your child medication of any kind (over-the-counter, his or her own leftover prescription, or anyone else’s prescription) without explicit medical approval. In most cases, this will mean getting an okay  to medicine each time, your child is ill, except when the doctor has given standing orders (for example, whenever your child runs a temperature over 38.9degree C/102 degree F, give paracetamol; or when wheezing begins, use the asthma medicine).
  2. Unless the doctor specifically instructs you otherwise, give a medication only for the indications listed on a label.
  3. Never give a child a medication (not even in reduced dosages) which does not specifically say it can be given to children (again, unless the doctor so directs).
  4. Do not give your child any product containing aspirin (or ‘salicylates’ or ‘salicylamides’) unless the doctor prescribe it.
  5. Do not give your toddler more than one medication at a time, unless you’ve checked with the doctor or pharmacist to be sure the combination is safe.
  6. Always make sure the medicine you’re giving your child is fresh.
  7. Administer medications only according to the directions your child’s doctor (or the pharmacist) has given you, or according to the label directions on over-the-counter products. (If directions on the label conflict with the doctor instruction call the doctor or pharmacist to resolve the conflict before giving the medications). Observe suggested precautions, including those related to timing, to food and to beverages. Shake, if required.
  8. Always reread the label before each dose, both to be sure you have the correct medication and to refresh your mind as to dosage, timing and other instructions; don’t rely on your memory. Be particularly careful when administering medicine in the dark; check the label in the light first to make sure that you have the right bottle.
  9. Measure medications meticulously. Use a calibrated medicine spoon, dropper, or cup (usually available at a chemist’s); kitchen spoons are variable and messier to handle. If you don’t have a medicine spoon, measure the medication in a measuring spoon, then transfer it to a larger spoon to reduce spillage. A spoon that is gently rounded rather than deep can more easily be licked clean by your child. (if it doesn’t come clean during the first pass, turn it over and pull it back over your child’s tongue to clean off the dregs. And remember, more is not better (and less is not more). Never increase or decrease a dosage without your doctor’s explicit instruction.
  10. If your child splits out part of a dose of pain relievers or vitamins, it is usually better to err on the side of safety and not give an additional amount-under dosing if left risky than overdosing. If you are administering antibiotics, however, check with the doctor about what to do if your child loses part of one or more doses.
  11. To avoid the possibility of a choking incident (or possibly even aspiration pneumonia from inhaling something other than air) when administering  medicine, don’t squeeze your child’s cheeks, hold the nose, or force the head back. Also be sure your child is in an upright position, rather than lying down.
  12. Follow up a medication with a drink of water (unless you are instructed otherwise).
  13. Keep a record of the time each dose is given on a sheet of paper taped to the refrigerator or cover the changing table, so you will always know when you gave the last one. This will minimize the chances of missing a dose or accidentally doubling up. But don’t panic if you’re a little late with a schedule medication; just get back on schedule with the next close.
  14. Always complete a course of antibiotics, as prescribed, unless the doctor advises otherwise, even if your toddler seems completely recovered.
  15. Don’t continue giving a medication beyond the time specified in the prescription.
  16. If your toddler seems to be having an adverse reaction to a medication, stop it temporarily and check with the doctor before resuming use.
  17. If another caregiver, at home, in pre-school, or at day care, is responsible for giving your child medication during the day, be sure that he or she is familiar with the above recommendations.
  18. Be sure to record the name of any medication you give your toddler, as well as pertinent information (including why it was prescribed, the length of time it was observe), in your child’s permanent health history record, to create a ready reference now and in the future.
  19. Never pretend medicine is sweets or a special drink. Such subterfuge may work in getting a child to take the medicine, but could also lead to overdose if the child accidentally finds the bottle and decides to have a ‘snack’. Be clear-it’s medicine, not a treat.

After The Baby Is Born, The Toddlers Year
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