Giving Your Children Medicine
Talk with your doctor or pharmacist before you give your child prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Here are some important tips to remember before giving your child medicine.
What you should know:
- The name of the medication
- What the medication is used to treat
- How often and for how long the medicine should be given
- The dose
- How the medicine should be given
- Where to store the medicine: Does it need to be refrigerated?
- Common side effects
- What to do if you miss giving your child a dose
- If you are not sure how much medicine to give your child, ask your child’s doctor or pharmacist.
- Always check to make sure you have the correct medication. Many bottles look the same.
- Only use the measuring spoons, syringes, or cups that are meant for measuring medication. Don’t use spoons or cups from your kitchen.
- Don’t share prescription medicines with other children, including family members.
- Don’t give cough and cold medicine to babies or children who are 2 years old or younger. Always follow the age recommendations on the product label as some products are not recommended for younger children, such as those under 4 years of age.
- Keep all medicines, including herbs, vitamins and supplements, out of reach of children, or in a locked cabinet.
- Be careful if you give your child more than one OTC cough or cold medication. They may have the same “active ingredient” and could hurt your child.
- Share your child’s medicine list with grandparents, babysitters, and his or her school.
- If you think that your child may have taken too much medicine or the wrong medicine, call the U.S. Poison Center right away at 1-800-222-1222.
Check the label:
- Never give children medicines meant for adults.
- Don’t give cough and cold medicine to babies or children who are 2 years old or younger.
- Be sure to read all of the instructions. Prescription and OTC products typically come with printed information about common side effects and instructions on how to take the medicine.