When the need arises to give a child an over-the-counter medication, such as something to quiet a cough, even smart parents make medication mistakes. Using a multi-symptom children’s medication when only one or two symptoms are present, not measuring the medication dosage correctly or giving the medication dosage based on age rather than weight are three common mistakes parents make when giving medication to their children.
Using a Multi-Symptom Children’s Medication
Using a multi-symptom medication to treat a minor childhood ailment like a cold may seem like the best option to parents, since it will cover all the bases of the ailment. But if the child only has a sore throat and cough, a multi-symptom medication which includes drugs to stop a runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing is giving the child extra drugs for ailments that he or she does not have, and over-medication can be dangerous to the child. It is safer to use single-ingredient over-the-counter children’s medications to treat individual ailments as the need arises.
Parents Not Using the Dosing Device Included in the Children’s Medication
A teaspoon is a teaspoon, right? Wrong. All flatware is not created equal and using an ordinary teaspoon to measure a dosage of children’s medication can result in the child ingesting too much or too little of the medication. Over-the-counter children’s medication contain a dosing device, such as a dropper, syringe or cup, with dosage lines clearly marked so parents can give the exact amount of medicine needed to the child. If a child refuses to take medicine from the included dosing device, first measure the correct medication dosage in the pre-marked dosing device, then put the medicine in a teaspoon.
Parents Dose Out Medications Based on Age Rather than Weight
A three year old is a three year old, but one three year old may weigh 42 pounds while another weighs 55 pounds. The dose of children’s medication should be based on the weight of the child and not on the age of the child.
Basing dosage on age guidelines printed on the side of the medication box could result in the child receiving too much or too little medication. When in doubt about the exact dosage of medicine (even over-the-counter) call the pediatrician’s office and talk to the nurse or pediatrician.
Be a smart parent and dose out children’s medications correctly and effectively by using single-ingredient over-the-counter children’s medications, use the included dosing device and base the dosage amount on the weight of the child.