What You Need to Know Before Giving Kids Medication

As parents, grandparents, and other caretakers, it is difficult to see the little children in our lives suffering from ailments. Whether it be a stomach virus, a cold, or the flu, all illnesses cause little ones to feel poorly and break the hearts of their caretakers. When administering medications for such ailments, there are various measures to take when ensuring the meds are given correctly.

The first and most important thing when taking care of a little one is to not diagnose them yourself. Physicians and pharmacists are in student loan debt up to their eyeballs because they spent a plethora of funds learning how to diagnose illnesses and the steps to get rid of them. Use their knowledge and expertise.

Once prescribed medication or told which over the counter medicine is best to eliminate your child’s illness, read the instructions. Never give a child medicine that is meant for adults. The directions will tell you if the medicine should be taken with food or on an empty stomach. It will also list any side effects associated with taking the drug. This is important in case any of them develop; you will know where the new symptoms are coming from.

It is also helpful to have a family pharmacist who is familiar with your history and allergies and is, therefore, able to offer recommendations and tips when any family member is sick. Other safety tips found here http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/medication-safety.html# are listed below.

Safety Basics

For safe medication use:

  • Never use leftover medications. For example, pharmacists will sometimes dispense more liquid medication than is needed in case some is spilled or measured incorrectly. If you have liquid left over after your child has completed the course of treatment, throw it out. For medicines taken as needed, keep an eye on the expiration date to make sure you’re not giving an outdated medication.
  • Never give your child medicines that have been prescribed to someone else, whether it’s an adult or child. Even if two people have the same illness, they may require different drugs with different dosages and directions.
  • Do not give your child two types of medications with the same ingredients.
  • If you’re purchasing OTC medicines, check the packaging for possible tampering, and don’t use any in cut, torn, or sliced packages. Be sure to check the expiration date, too.
  • Many medicines should be taken until finished as prescribed by the doctor — even if your child begins to feel better before that. For example, antibiotics help to kill bacteria, so it’s important to finish all doses even after symptoms stop, otherwise the infection could return.