Measure your child’s medicine correctly

By admin
22 July 2014

Be careful when using a teaspoon or tablespoon to give your child medicine. Researchers at New York University recently found it’s easy for parents to give their kids the wrong dosage when using kitchen spoons.

Be careful when using a teaspoon or tablespoon to give your child medicine. Researchers at New York University recently found it’s easy for parents to give their kids the wrong dosage when using kitchen spoons.

According to the study, American poison centres receive 10 000 calls a year about children who’ve been given the wrong dosage of medication.

According to the study, parents who use teaspoons or tablespoons are 2,3 times more inclined to give their kids the incorrect amount of medicine.

Children are more sensitive to medicine than adults and even a small mistake in dosage can cause problems, the researchers warn. “Even a millilitre can increase the toxicity.”

Getting it right

Make sure you’re giving your child the correct medicine

  • Use only medicine spoons specially designed to measure the correct dosage. Don’t use conventional cups, teaspoons or tablespoons from your kitchen.
  • If you’re unsure about how much medicine your child should be given, call your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Be cautious about giving your child more than one type of self-medication. There could be a common ingredient found in them, and that could be dangerous.
  • Make sure you read the labels on the medicine containers carefully. They should indicate how much your child should take at once, and how often.
  • Don’t use one member of the family’s prescription for another member.
  • Never give children medicine meant for adults.

Keep medicine safe

  • When you buy medicine for your child, ask the pharmacist to put it in a child-proof container.
  • Keep all medicine out of reach of children, preferably in a lockable medicine cabinet.
  • Bear in mind light and moisture can influence the active ingredients in medicine. That’s why your bathroom cupboard isn’t the ideal place in which to store it because steam from baths or showers can easily penetrate through the gaps in doors.
  • Throw old medicine away. It can be toxic if used after its expiry date.

When your child refuses to take their medication

  • Most medicine for children contains syrup which makes it taste more pleasant. Administer it to your child using a medicine spoon, dropper or syringe.
  • Get your child to close their nose when drinking unpleasant-smelling medicine. This reduces their ability to smell it.
  • Mix liquid medicine with another liquid such as honey.
  • Don’t however add medicine to a drink such as tea. It will just sink to the bottom of the cup and you won’t know whether you’ve given your child the correct quantity.
  • Reward your child with their favourite drink after they’ve taken their medicine.
  • Finely crush tablets and mix them with honey, jam or ice cream. But NEVER open capsules.

- Suzaan Hauman

Sources: webmd.com, www.safemedication.com, medicineabuseproject.org, miriamstoppard.com

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