Administering medication to children can be tricky, especially for infants who do not understand the rationale behind mummy or daddy trying to squirt this yucky tasting syrup into their mouth.
When a doctor prescribes medication to a paediatric (baby/child), the dose that is prescribed is based on the paediatrics weight. The doctor will do a simple mathematical equation allowing an appropriate, safe dose to be administered. It is SO important to comply with the prescribed dosage and ALWAYS read and follow directions. If you are unsure, speak with your doctor or local pharmacist.
Helpful tips for administering oral medications to paediatrics
- Ensure your child is upright when administering oral medications, never left laying on their back.
- Place end of dosage device / syringe in the corner of your child’s mouth. Aim the medicine inside the cheek, not in the front where it can dribble out, or be spat out. To avoid gagging and choking, don’t aim for the back of the throat.
- Pretend to give your child’s medicine to a favorite toy or stuffed animal perhaps.
- A reward for good cooperation may help, perhaps something special, a favourite game, book, special mummy and daddy time.
- As a last resort, hold your child’s nose. Not only will this force your child to open their mouth, it also will minimise their ability to taste the medicine.
- Suppositories, chewable pills or capsules are another option when age appropriate.
- ALWAYS read directions.
- NEVER leave medication unattended.
- DO NOT give your child another persons medicine.
- ALWAYS administer medication to your child in a well lit area. Overdosage is very common and the Poisons Information Centre send many children to the emergency department as a result of overdosage.
- DOUBLE CHECK with another person prior to administering the medication.
- ALWAYS refer to the medications by their correct name, they are NOT lollies or treats.
- If you are unsure, seek advice from your local pharmacist.
Key points to remember
Never use a teaspoon as they vary in size.
Always check expiry prior to use.
If you think your child is having an adverse reaction to the medication, for example vomiting, diarrhoea or a rash, withhold the medication and speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
If the victim has collapsed, stopped breathing, is fitting or is suffering an anaphylactic reaction, ring 000 for an ambulance.
Do NOT ring the Poisons Information Centre.