How to Give Medicines to Children


If medicines have been prescribed for a child by a doctor, the child needs those medi­cines. He should take them, even if he dislikes them or if he seems better.

Most children take their medicine quite readily. Liquid medicines are often pre­scribed for small children, in which case you should have a glass of the child’s favourite drink ready to wash the taste of the medicine away after he has taken it. If the child really dislikes the taste of his medicine, you can disguise it by mixing the medicine with a spoonful of jam or honey. Do not pretend to the child that you are only giving him jam: he will notice the drug and will not trust you again. Tell him that it is his medi­cine but that it will not taste unpleasant if he takes it this way.

Keeping medicines safe

It is important not to confuse medicines with sweets for another reason: the child may get the idea that all pills are nice to eat, especially if he has been used to taking suger-coated coloured pills. Many iron pills, for instance, are perfectly safe in the recommended dose, but they look like Smarties and children may swallow them in handfuls: they can cause death.

Every medicine should be regarded as potentially dangerous to children. Some are more dangerous than others, but no tablets are completely safe if too many are swallowed. For this reason medicines should not be kept within reach of small fingers, ‘hey should be locked in a safe cupboard with the key kept somewhere different, not en in the door. Medicines to be kept in the cupboard should include all substances containing drugs: these include skin creams and menthol for inhalation, not just liquids and pills.

Because of the dangers, medicines today are dispensed with safety in mind. Bottles have “childproof” tops and tablets are packed in plastic and foil strips. These are excellent deterrents for children, but can cause problems for the elderly or those with weak or arthritic hands. If medicines are always kept in a locked cupboard, safety tops are not strictly speaking necessary, but there is never any harm in taking extra precautions.

In any normal household there are many ordinary products which are also potentially dangerous. Experience has shown that the following are particularly hazardous: ammonia; antifreeze liquid; brake fluid; caustic soda; oven cleaner; paintbrush restorer; paint stripper. It is better to be safe than sorry. Keep these substances and any others that are similarly not intended for internal use under lock and key and in a high cupboard that is well out of the reach of children: they should not be kept in the cupboard under the kitchen sink, however convenient that may be for you.

Storing medicines out of reach

A medicine cabinet should be well out of a child’s reach and above her eye level, so that she is less likely to be interested in it. If it is also kept locked with no key visible, you can be fairly sure that the child is safe.

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Filed Under: Health & Personal Care

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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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