Health tips

Getting toddlers to take medicine

In our household child number 1 loves her medicine.  She will take it whatever way you wish to give it and it requires no concealment or magic on our behalf.

Child 2 – no chance.  Mouth sealed tight.  As tight as his grip when you try to take that really dirty sharp pointy thing that you have no idea how he got his hands on from him.

I’ve had to learn a few tricks along the way.  Allow me to impart a little wisdom:

1)  The squirt and run

Syringe. Mouth. Squirt (preferably into the cheek and not on the tongue). Run.

Got it?

(Probably about 30-50% effective medicine administration.  This is the one I find myself doing as the other options would either be heavily frowned upon in public or take too much preparation/ effort/ bribery.)

2)  The undercover agent

The aim of the game here is for there to be no recognition that you are giving them medicine.

Certain medications are ok to mix with food/milk, so check with your pharmacist and then go for it.

I’ve mixed with milk, yoghurt, into a whole raspberry (I kid you not)…the possibilities are endless.

One tip- don’t mix the medication into a whole bottle of milk/juice etc as if they do not finish the bottle then they won’t have received the full dose of medication.

(50-100% effective medicine administration.)

3)  You’re the boss baby

Giving the spoon or syringe to your child can be very helpful as sometimes the reason why they won’t take medicine is because they are unhappy being forced to.

On occasions my boy has been happy to stick a spoon full of Calpol in his mouth independently despite an hour of numerous crafty attempts on my part.

Treating medicine the same way as any other food can be helpful.  The more anxious we are when giving the medication, the more likely they are to pick up on this anxiety and be put off trying it.

(0-100% drug administration.Totally toddler mood dependant.)

4)  For the dummy lovers

You can purchase special dummies that you administer medication through.  (Genius eh?)

An example :

There is a chance your child will cotton on to this trick quite rapidly (mine did).  Don’t fear it putting them off their usual dummy and no it doesn’t work as a method of weaning off the dummy either.

These wily kids will know the difference instantly between their usual pacifier and the medication dispensing one.

But it’s worth a shot.

(0-100% drug administration. Depending on level of wiliness.)

5)  For the bottle lovers

Squirting the measure of medicine into the teat of an empty bottle.  Some babies will happily take their medicine this way.  Others (like my son) will look at you with utter disgust in their eyes.

(75-100% drug administration, before they catch on.)

A few notes…

Don’t forget that if you are really struggling to get the medicine down, ask your doctor for a different flavoured option (often drugs come sweetened or unsweetened) or a different type of antibiotic (penicillin for example can taste different to amoxicillin).

If your child is too unwell to take their medication or keeps being sick – you must inform your doctor as there is a chance they need to be given the drug intravenously (through a drip) in hospital.

Share your tips and tricks with us!

Dr Claudia x

Please note: The materials in this web site are in no way intended to replace the professional medical care, advice, diagnosis or treatment of a doctor. The web site does not have answers to all problems. Answers to specific problems may not apply to everyone. If you notice medical symptoms or feel ill, you should consult your doctor. Dr Claudia x

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