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Measuring medicine

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help the medicine go down when your baby gets sick.

Step 1: The right amount. 

Measuring medicine accurately is especially important with babies and toddlers because their small size means an error can be more significant. Most household teaspoons — the kind you’d stir your coffee with — vary in size, so don’t rely on them to give your child an accurate dose.

Even measuring spoons can be tricky to use. One gadget that’s accurate is the plastic spoon with the hollow handle, called a medicine spoon. You hold it upright and pour the medicine into the handle, check the amount against the markings, then tip it so that the medicine flows into the bowl of the spoon and pop in it your child’s mouth. There is one drawback to these spoons: if the liquid is too thick, some will be left in the handle and you won’t deliver the full dose.

The oral syringe is the most accurate. It is also good for thick or thin liquid and you can direct the spoon to the inside of the cheek so you avoid some of the taste buds on the tongue, which might make it more acceptable to the child.

Step 2: Set the mood. 

Getting the right amount, while important, is only the first hurdle. Getting the stuff into your baby without having most of it spat back out can be an even greater challenge. Remember that if your child has been prescribed medication he’s obviously sick and not feeling well, therefore, he may not to be at his most co-operative. Create a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere before you start, get everyone comfortable and be prepared to take your time.

And check the information that comes with the medicine — or ask your Pharmacist for assistance — so that you know if the drug must be taken on an empty stomach or with food, or if it should be kept chilled in the fridge.

Step 3: Down the hatch. 

Keeping in mind the restrictions of your child’s particular medication, you could try keeping the medication chilled (if that’s possible), as this will minimize the taste.

If none of these techniques work well, ask your physician or your Pharmacist about alternatives.