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How to Keep a Child From Spitting Out Medicine

by Shelley Frost

From the moment the doctor writes the prescription, you might begin to wonder how you will get your child to swallow it. While you know that the medication is necessary for your her to get well, your child just knows that it doesn't taste great. If you can't reason with your tot, the way you administer the medication is essential to getting it into her body and keeping it there. A lot of patience and a little experimenting with different administration methods can help you find a way that works for your little patient.

Order a flavor of medication that your child enjoys. Most pharmacies add flavoring to any child's medication for an extra fee. If your child is old enough, allow her to choose her own flavor. According to the AskDrSear website, a generic version of a medication might taste worse than brand name one.

Ask the pharmacist or doctor if you can mix the medication into food or a drink. Since you shouldn't dilute some medications, you should always ask first. If the medical professionals give you the OK, stir the medicine into a small amount of applesauce, yogurt, chocolate milk or juice to mask the flavor so your child won't want to spit it out. Mixing the medication in only a small portion of food or a drink increases the chances of your little eating or drinking the entire amount so she gets the full dose.

Administer the medication at a time when your child is calm and cooperative. If he is already upset, he is more likely to fight taking the medicine. You should also gather all the supplies you need before you round up your child so he doesn't have much time to think about it.

Keep a positive attitude when you give your child the medicine. If you're tense or worried, she'll likely pick up on that and become tense herself. Act like the medicine is no big deal.

Experiment with different administration methods. A standard dosing spoon makes it easier for your child to push the medication out of her mouth with her tongue. Try a syringe without the needle to squirt the medication into her mouth. Aim the syringe toward the inside of her cheek near the back of her mouth so it avoids the tongue and goes down her throat. Intermountain Primary Children's Medical Center suggests transferring the medicine into a bottle nipple after measuring it for a baby.

Ask the doctor if an alternative form of the medication is available if your child continues spitting it out. A chewable tablet or a suppository is an option for some medications. The AskDrSears website suggests crushing a chewable table and mixing it with a little water to make a paste. If you rub the paste on the inside of your young child's cheek, it's difficult to spit it out.

Items you will need
  • Dosing spoon
  • Syringe
  • Nipple

Tip

  • Contact the pharmacy or your child's doctor if she spits out most of her medication to determine if you should give her more or wait until the next scheduled dose.

Warning

  • Avoid forcing the medicine down your child's throat, especially if he's upset as he might start gagging and become more upset.

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