Medication Safety for Children

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By Jennifer Cochran

Giving kids medicine safely can be complicated. It maybe frightening to give a young child certain medications knowing that too much or too little can cause serious side effects. But with a little knowledge and a lot of double- checking, you can give your kids medicine safely and prevent dangerous reactions. Using medications safely means knowing when they’re necessary –and when they’re not. Always check with the doctor if you’re unsure whether symptoms require treatment with medication.

Administering Medication
To ensure the safe use of prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, discuss your child’s symptoms with your doctor and pharmacist.

When giving your child medicines, you’ll need to know:
• The name and purpose of the medication
• How much, how often, and for how long the medicine should be taken.
• How the medicine should be administered (whether it should be taken by mouth; breathed into the lungs: inserted into the ears, eyes, or
rectum; or applied to the skin)
• Any special instructions, like whether the medicine should be taken with or without food
• How the medicine should be stored
• How long the medicine can safely be stored before it needs to be
discarded (asthma inhalers, for example)
• Common side effects or reactions • Interactions with other medications your child may be taking
• What happens if your child misses a dose

Did You Know?
tbsp = tablespoon
tsp = teaspoon
oz = ounce
ml = milliliter
mg = milligram

If the prescribed dose is in a different form other than your measuring syringe, cup, or spoon, don’t try to convert it, and don’t use a regular spoon. Instead, head out to your local convenience store or pharmacy where you will find a measuring instrument that will provide an accurate dose.