Nurse shares 3 ways to get tricky toddlers to take medicine | The Sun

A NURSE has shared tips on how to get tricky toddlers to take medicine.

All kids will have to take medication at some point, but it can sometimes feel “impossible” for parents, said Penny.

The paediatric nurse, who runs the Instagram account @sick.happens, gives parents advice on how to stay calm and confident when their child is unwell.

Babies or toddlers may struggle to take medicine because it doesn’t taste nice or the texture is strange.

As they get older, other issues come into play, such as not understanding why they need to take it or having anxiety around it.

Based in Australia, mum-of-two Penny says she is “no miracle worker” but these tips may make the challenge of giving medicine a little easier – and there is no "spoonful of sugar" necessary.

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They refer to liquid medicines which is how babies take medicines, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen.

Oral syringes are better for young children because it is easier to measure an accurate dose and to administer the medicine.

But read on to find out hacks for giving other medications to older kids.

1. Side of the mouth

If you are squirting a medication into a young child or baby's mouth, aim for the side of the inside cheek.

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This is to avoid their tastebuds.

Penny said: “If you aim for the middle of the mouth, they will likely spit it out or thrust it out with their tongue (this is a natural reflex for babies).”

2. Use a dummy

Popping a dummy into their mouth as soon as you have squirted the medicine in there will encourage swallowing.

“You can also drip the medicine into the side of the mouth with the dummy still in, but you’ll need to use you ninja skills!”, said Penny.

3. Mix it in a liquid

Simply mix the medication into a favourite drink of theirs.

But be wary of mixing it into large volume, because then you have to make sure they drink it all.

Other parents gave tips in the comment section.

One said: “We mix it with Greek yoghurt in a little cup and call it 'special yoghurt', which works every time for my almost 2 year old.”

Others said they had found special dummies which you can insert liquid into, which releases as the baby or toddler sucks.

Great Ormond Street Hospital says if your child is given a prescription for medication, ask the pharmacist if it can be mixed with food or drink.

“If tablets can be crushed, they can be mixed with a spoonful of yoghurt,” the website says.

“Generally, crushing a tablet and adding it to a drink tends not to work very well as the bits can get left at the bottom of the cup. 

“It is more reliable to mix the crushed tablet with a small amount of liquid and draw it up in an oral syringe. Another idea is to give a strong tasting drink afterwards (such as orange or apple juice)."

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The hospital, which specialises in paediatric care, also says the following can help young children with medicine taking:

  • Always give lots of praise, even if the process was difficult
  • Try not to involve too many people
  • Do it before a favourite TV show so there is something positive after
  • Role playing, such as giving a favourite teddy medicine too, can make it more fun
  • Stickers and reward charts that lead to a prize can encourage a child every day

NHS advice for giving medicine to babies and kids

  • Make sure you know how much and how often to give a medicine
  • Always read the label on the bottle, and stick to the recommended dose. If in doubt, check with a pharmacist, health visitor or GP
  • Never use a kitchen teaspoon to give your baby or child medicine, because they come in different sizes
  • It's best to choose a sugar-free version. Medicines that contain sugar can harm your child's teeth
  • Give medication to babies or young children when they are upright

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