Using the Correct Dosing Device

Liquid Medications

Many children's medications come in liquid form because they are easier to swallow than pills. But they must be used correctly. Too often parents misread the directions, giving children several times the recommended dosage. This can be very dangerous, especially if given over a period of several days. Read the instructions carefully. Call your pediatrician if you are not sure how much, how often or for how long to give medications to your child.

When giving your child a liquid medication, do not use standard tableware tablespoons and teaspoons because they usually are not accurate. Instead, use one of the measuring devices listed below. (Many children's medications come with one. If not, ask your pharmacist for the appropriate dosing device). These can help you give the right amount of medication to your child.

Syringes and Oral Droppers

These can be very helpful when giving medication to an infant. Simply squirt the medication between your child's tongue and the side of her mouth. This makes it easier for her to swallow. Avoid squirting the medicine into the back of your child's throat — she is more likely to gag and spit the medication out. If you have a syringe that has a plastic cap, throw the cap into the trash so that it does not fall off in your child's mouth, causing a choking hazard. You do not need to re-cap the syringe.

Dosing Spoons

These can be useful for older children who will open their mouths and "drink" from the spoon.

Medication Cups

These often come as caps on liquid cold and flu medications. Make sure to use the cup that comes with the medication — do not mix and match cups to other products.