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Health Facts

General Health


Toddlers & Children




Medicine Measures For Little Treasures

We all know how upsetting it is when little ones get sick. It can be even more upsetting when they won't take their medicine, or when you have to figure out exactly how much 5mL actually is! So I thought I'd dedicate a bit of time to explain a few devices and methods that will make giving your little ones the right dose of their medicines a little easier.

First and foremost never underestimate the importance of getting the correct dose. Never be tempted to use the 'teaspoon' to measure out a syrup, because they come in so many shapes and sizes that seldom will you get an accurate measurement. Some childrens' syrups will come with measure cups, measure spoons or droppers, and if these are available be sure to use them. If they don't they are always available from the pharmacy, all you need to do is ask.

Measure spoons are also available which look a little like a test tube. They have a thin narrow measure barrel with measurement graduations up the side like a measure cup does and a spoon at the other open end. You can pour your medicine into the barrell and then it tips into the spoon end when you come to administer it.

If your child doesn't like taking medicine from a spoon or cup try using a syringe which will push the medicine further down to the throat and past the taste buds. Try pouring a little of the medicine into a measure cup first and drawing up the dose from the cup as oppose to straight out of the bottle which can be tricky, and also messy!

Another alternative is to use a syringe attatchment which fits snuggly into the bottle neck at one end and allows the tip of the syringe to fit neatly into the other. Using a dose aid like this allows you to tip the bottle up-side-down and draw up the exact dose with out any spills!

Last but certainly not least here are a few tips that might help when everything else seems to fail!

  • Keep syrups in the fridge - when medicines are cold they may taste a little bit more acceptable for little taste buds
  • Give children "a chaser" - (adults know them well!) and children might take better to their medicine when given a glass of orange juice or favourite drink to mask the medicine taste
  • Alternatively, let kids suck on an ice block before you give them their medicine - this will numb their little mouth a bit and reduce the taste sensation
  • If you need to give tablets check with the pharmacist if they can be crushed, then put them into a spoonful yoghurt, or honey or jam and spread onto a small piece of bread or toast. This can also be done with capsules by opening them and pouring their little beads into a spoonful of food as with the tablets.

I hope this has given you a few ideas on hw to approach that eternal battle of giving medicine to your little ones. Until next time, if you come across any problems or any questions, there is always a friendly face at the Pharmacy who is willing to give you the best advice they can.

Adriana Kaminski, Pharmacist MPS