Being a parent is hands down one of the most difficult jobs around the world. Congrats if you are a parent and we salute you. You are doing an amazing job! But even the most vigilant of the parents also make these certain mistakes with medicines that may prove harmful to the child. Medicines are indeed a crucial part of your child’s growing years. Falling sick with flu, cough and cold, children are needed to be administered medications very often.
When my daughter was around 2 years old, she once suffered from a very high fever accompanied by an extreme cough and cold. It was late into the night when she was burning with fever and the doctor had advised on giving Meftal in case of temperature above 102.5 F. It is a very strong medication and pediatricians especially advise it only when a child is having an immensely high temperature to be given at the prescribed dose. Two nights of sleeplessness, office work pressure, and panic; I was almost in a trance when I poured the medicine into my daughter’s mouth only to realize it seconds later that I had fed her almost double the dose. With trembling hands, I picked up my daughter in my lap and reached for the phone to call the emergency at the nearest pediatric hospital. The doctor came to my rescue and asked me to make sure that my baby was awake for a couple of hours with normal breathing and a regular heartbeat. She also asked me to check if my daughter was getting unconscious. Thankfully, my daughter did not respond negatively to my stupidity and carelessness. It has been two years since and I make sure to be fully awake whenever I am giving my child any medication.
Well, my little one was lucky or maybe I did not give her the medication to an extent that would put her health at risk. Every year, an estimated 71,000 children receive emergency treatment due to misadministration of medicine by parents. This is called accidental medication poisoning. These are unintentional goof ups done by many parents that can lead to prolonged illness and other serious side effects if not taken immediate medical action.
Let’s see some common medication errors that parents make when giving medicines to kids:
The liquid medicines are the trickiest when it comes to doling them out. Most of the parents have the habit of pouring the medicines directly from the bottle to the mouth. This is wrong in all aspects. Why do you think that your child’s weight is being measured first when you take him to the clinic? That is because; doctors decide the dosage of the medicines depending on the child’s body weight. Always follow the dosage written on the prescription and buy a medicine cup from a pharmacy store to measure your child’s medicines in terms of millilitres (mL).
Repeating a dose
A very common question asked by most parents, “What to do if my child throws up the medicine given? Should I give him a second dose?” Often parents make the mistake of double-dosing the child. Doctors say that if the child vomited within 5-10 minutes after having the medicine, it is better to give another dose as the medicines have not been absorbed into the bloodstream. But if the child has vomited 30 minutes later, there is no need to feed the medicine again. You must wait till the next dose.
Administering medicines for off-label purposes
There are many parents who give a small dosage of cough syrup to their kids to make them at rest and help them sleep in an airplane. On the contrary, research has found that such medications make the child hyperactive. It is better to get some healthy snacks, toys and colouring activity for your kids. Also, try and be patient.
Giving medicine dosage according to age rather than weight
When you are buying OTC medicines for your kids, you often give them the dosage based on the label. In the case of these medicines, the dosage instruction is given according to age. But the right way to give medicines to your kids is as per their weight. Why? Because children metabolize medicine differently based on what their body weight is.
Disregarding doctor’s advise
Let’s admit it, as parents, we all have done it at some point or the other. After starting antibiotics for our kids, the moment our child starts feeling better we feel tempted to stop the antibiotics. In doing so, the bacteria will linger and become antibiotic resistant making your child prone to illness.
However, often it is difficult to feed medicines to toddlers as they refuse it owing to taste and smell. Don’t force your child to have medicines a sit may lead to choking or vomiting. Instead, use a plastic medication syringe or dropper. Also, give medicines to your child in an upright position. Giving medicine while lying down passes it to the windpipe causing them to choke.