Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
Medicine and Your
Child: How to Give Your Child the Right Dose
What do I need to
know about my child's medicines?
Both your child's doctor and the
pharmacist can answer your questions about prescription and
over-the-counter (OTC) medicine. Here are some useful things to know about
medicines that are to be taken by mouth (oral medicines):
- The name of the medicine
- What the medicine is for
- The dose (amount) of the medicine to give
- The number of times a day the medicine should be
- The times of the day the medicine should be given
- Whether the medicine can be given with food
- The number of days the medicine should be given
- How you will know the medicine is working
- The most common and important side effects
What should I
tell the doctor?
When your doctor prescribes a medicine or when
you ask about an OTC medicine for your child, be sure to tell your doctor these
- Other medicines that your child is taking (both
prescription and OTC medicines)
- Any drug allergies your child has
- If the medicine costs too much for you to buy
What can I expect
from my pharmacist?
The pharmacist should tell you the same things
about the medicine that your doctor told you. For liquid medicines, the
pharmacist should give you a measuring device and show you the right way to use
it. The pharmacist should answer any questions you have about the
remember about giving medicine to your child
- When the label on the medicine says "every 6
hours," that generally means the medicine is taken 4 times a day (for example,
at breakfast, lunch, supper and bedtime). It doesn't generally mean to wake the
child up in the night to take medicine. And "take every 8 hours" generally means
the medicine should be taken 3 times a day.
- When you get a new prescription, ask your doctor
or your pharmacist for a medicine information sheet. It will tell you about the
- If more than one family member goes to the same
doctor, make sure each medicine label clearly says whose medicine it is. Ask
your doctor to make sure the child's name is clear on the medicine label.
- Ask your doctor to include on the prescription
label what the medicine is for. This helps the pharmacist double-check the
- Sometimes people think, "If a little medicine is
good, a lot is better (or will work quicker)." This is wrong. Giving too much
medicine can be harmful. Be sure you only give the prescribed or recommended
dose of each medicine.
- Even when your child begins to feel better,
continue to give as much medicine as the doctor prescribed. If you are giving an
OTC medicine, it is usually ok to stop when your child feels better.
- Use a special measuring device for liquid
medicine to get the correct dose. An ordinary kitchen teaspoon may not hold the
right amount of medicine.
- If you use a syringe-type measuring device to
give liquid medicine to your child, first throw away the small cap of the
syringe. Children can choke on these caps.
- If your child has a bad reaction to a medicine or
is allergic to a medicine, tell your doctor right away. This is important
medical information. You should also keep a record of this information at home:
the name of the medicine, the dosage directions, the illness the medicine
was given for and the side effects the medicine caused.
- If you or your child have any problems with
a medicine, call your doctor or the pharmacist right away.