With temperatures dropping outside and December through February marking peak flu activity season, winter months can mean winter illnesses for many of our kids (and parents too!). As adults, it’s easy for us to grab the best medicine for relief out of the cabinet, read over the label to find out how much medicine to give ourselves, and then continue about our routine in a matter of minutes. For our children however, special care is needed to ensure the drug prescribed is appropriate and that the correct dosage is given because knowing that some medications and incorrect dosages can cause serious side effects is vital. The Children’s Wellness Center providers understand the anxiety parents can feel towards safely giving their children certain medications, but we have a few tips and tools to help so you don’t give your child the wrong dose!
General Safety Tips
- Securely store all medicines in a place that is out of reach of children.
- Keep childproof caps on all medicine containers to help keep kids out.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medications should not be given to children under the age of 6
- Ibuprofen should not be used to treat infants under 6 months of age
- Remember that not all children’s illnesses require medication for treatment; only give your child medications for treating the symptoms you notice at the time (like a fever or persistent cough) and only if your child needs it (if you’re unsure, check with your child’s provider first).
Medication Dosing Safety Tips
- Dosing amounts are different depending on the concentration being used.
- Use only the dosing device that comes with the product.
- Measure the dose out exactly.
- Kitchen teaspoons & tablespoons are not accurate and should not be used.
- Never give adult medicines to children.
- Carefully read and always follow the instructions stated on the label.
- Always pay attention to the different measuring units and familiarize yourself with abbreviations (for instance knowing the difference between mL, mg, tbsp., tsp., etc.) in case you are required to convert between two different measurement forms.
- Talk to your pediatrician if you have any questions (if a medical question or need arises when our office is closed, visit your nearest Urgent Care Center for assistance or call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 1-800-222-1222).
Majority of medication dosing errors occur when children are given common pain and fever-reducing medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen. While not all dosing errors will result in significant consequences to your child, it can happen depending on the type of medication given. Under dosing can also put strain on your child’s health because not giving them the adequate amount could mean their symptoms don’t clear as quickly – also meaning another trip to visit the doctor could be needed.
If you’re ever unsure of the right amount of medicine to give your child, the first thing you should do is to contact your child’s doctor or consult with a pharmacist before dosing. The American Academy of Pediatrics also provides several medical dosing tables to assist parents when calculating dosages of common medications that may be useful to helping your child feel better. Bookmarking these charts on your laptop or mobile device or printing a copy to store in your medicine cabinet may also be helpful tools to quickly offer supplementary help before giving your child too much or too little medication.
If you have any questions about proper medical dosing for your child, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 404-303-1314 and we will be more than happy to help. Be sure to also join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+ for more Children’s Wellness Center news and updates!