One of the unbearable moments in the life of a parent is when his or her child suffers an illness. Even when the illness is a simple fever which will resolve within few days, it is natural for any parent to panic and do things in the hope of making the child feel better as quickly as possible. However, in doing so, they may try to introduce different kinds of over the counter medicines without giving due considerations to its dose, correct method of administration and other important safety precautions. In such instances, the child may not receive the expected benefit from the said medicine and, at times, it might cause more harm than its expected good.
Avoid harsh handling and forceful methods of giving medicines
Although most pediatric medicines contain different flavors to make it more palatable, not all children will like the taste, texture or the smell of medicines. This can make life very difficult for the parents when they try to administer such medicines to their resisting child. Forceful and harsh methods adapted by parents can make life very unpleasant for both the child as well as for the parent and at times may actually subject the child to physical harm. Therefore, a parent should always try strategies that will allow him or her to administer medicines with minimum physical effort and in this regard, obtaining the help of another person is highly desirable.
Avoid giving medicines in a hurry to a child
Before administering medicine to a child, parents should double-check whether they have chosen the right medicine for the symptom, have taken the correct dose for the child’s age and weight and are using the correct tool to measure and administer the medicine. Parents should also read the label carefully in order to avoid giving the same chemical compound via two different medicines, which can increase the dose received by the child when giving several medicines at once. After making sure everything is in order, parents should take time to settle the child before trying to administer the medicine. One should remember that giving medicine to a child should never be done in a hurry but is something that needs to be done slowly and gently.
Introduce the medicine using safe methods
When placing medicines into the child’s mouth, it is always necessary to keep the child’s head still and raised. One should not try to instill medicine into the mouth when the child is lying on his or her back as it can cause inhalation of content in the mouth. Placing the child in the crook of the arm is a good way of keeping the child still. If it does not work, wrapping the child in a blanket may also help, as it will stop the movement of the arms and of the legs to a certain extent. When instilling or pouring medicine, one can ask another person to gently hold the child’s chin down as the cup or the spoon is placed just over the lower lip and the medicines are allowed to trickle into the child’s mouth. In case of using a dropper, one can place the dropper just above the corner of the mouth or near the back of the mouth before instilling the medicine drop by drop.
Clear the mouth after giving medicine
Following giving the medicines, the child should be given a sip of water or his or her favorite drink to wash away the bad taste in the mouth as well as to clear the sticky medicines from the child’s teeth. At times, having the child’s favorite drink ready and visible while giving the medicine may also encourage the child to take the medicine without much of a resistance.
Do not mix medicines with food or water
Although in some instances, parents find it easier to give the medicine mixed with the child’s favorite food or the drink, this may not be a very effective way of giving medicine. In doing so, most of the medicine may remain attached to the container wall and therefore may not exert the full effect of the given dose.
Store the medicines safely
Lastly, once the medicines are given, parents should always keep in mind to store them in a cool and a dry place inaccessible to children at all times.