Make Sure Your Child Gets the Correct Dose

Ill girl with tabletThe old wives’ tale that ‘if it doesn’t taste bad it won’t work’ may still hold as true today as it did in years gone by, but it doesn’t really help when medicating your child. However a medicine tastes, a child will try to avoid taking it. That doesn’t help your child’s health or your peace of mind. You’re old enough and wise enough to understand that the correct dose is vital to a medicine working, and this is vital to getting your child’s life, and yours, back on track.

Here are four ways to overcome your child’s natural reluctance to take their medicine.

1. Sweeten the pill with bribery

Older children react especially well to a little bribery: ‘Take this medicine and you can watch your favourite film’. However, bribery methods become more expensive as children get older and realise the value of things. Younger children can often be tempted to take medicine by pretending to give it to a favourite doll or teddy bear.

2.Disguise the medicine and fool your child

It may be possible to hide thei r medicine in an item of food or drink. Don’t forget, though, that your child will need to eat or drink the whole portion to get the full dose of concealed medicine. The trick here is to hide the medicine in a small treat if possible. One word of warning: some medicines shouldn’t be mixed with food or liquid so always check before using this method.

3. Syringe the cough syrup

Young babies seem to know immediately that there is a spoonful of medicine on its way. They squirm and shuffle, and spit it out as soon as it’s in. If this describes your baby, then try using a syringe. Put the dose in a syringe and squirt it into your baby’s mouth: their reflex will be to swallow.

4. Give something to take away the taste

Most often it’s the taste that makes a child not want to take their medicine. Explain that without the medicine they won’t get well enough to go out and play with their friends. Give them the option of a drink to take straight after swallowing the medicine, to take the taste away.

Be firm and stand your ground

For your child’s health and your sanity, it’s important that your child takes the right medicine in the correct dosage. Make sure you read the instructions and measure accurately. It may be that you need to be as stubborn in administering medicine as your child is in refusing it.

Finally, the best method of measuring dosage is to use a syringe (even if the medicine is to be spoon fed). A study by the National Institute of Health in the United States has found that almost half of parents measured dosages incorrectly when using spoons, with more than 10,000 calls to poison control centres received each year because of incorrect liquid medicine dosages.

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