Your kid hates taking medicine? Never fear: a pediatrician offers her top tips.
Dr. Alanna Levine: When a child is sick and feeling awful, the last thing a parent wants to do is fight about taking medicine. But what if you have a child who just flat-out refuses to swallow it? Or promptly vomits afterward? For nonessential medicines, it's not worth the fight. But for medicines like antibiotics -- which require a full course of medication -- parents need an action plan.
Tips for helping the medicine go down:
â€¢ Try to reason your child out of the moment. Explain the importance of taking the medication and develop a strategy before the medicine is due. Bring your child into the discussion so she will feel powerful, like she has a say. Come up with a solution together (a spoonful of chocolate syrup or ice cream afterward, for example).
â€¢ Find a flavor she likes and have the pharmacy flavor it before you bring it home. If it doesn't have a strong flavor, dilute it in a favorite drink.
â€¢ Ask for a chewable or melt-away option (if available).
â€¢ For younger children, acetaminophen (both a fever reducer and pain reliever) comes in rectal-suppository form. (It can be hard for some parents to do the rectal thing the first time, but it gets easier ....)
â€¢ Some children do better with a dosing syringe than they do with a cup or spoon.
â€¢ Teach older children how to swallow pills. I suggest practicing with orange Tic Tacs or the old-fashioned sugar dots that you peel off of the paper; they don't taste bad if they're not swallowed on the first attempt.
â€¢ Talk to your pediatrician about your struggle. Sometimes there's an injection option with medicines for serious infections.
â€¢ Above all, be strong. You are the parent, and medicine is a necessity -- not a choice. You have to show your children that you are in charge. (And remember: To ensure correct dosage, always use a proper dosing utensil -- not a kitchen spoon.)
|Dr. Alanna Levine is a pediatrician in private practice and on staff at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, where she attends high- risk deliveries and cares for babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She is a national spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and frequently appears on television as a medical expert. Dr. Levine lives in New York with her husband and their two children.|