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The Right Way to Give Your Baby Medicine
Giving medicine to a baby can be tricky. Plus, multiple medicine strengths and dosing devices can cause mistakes. In fact, research shows that half of children who take medicine are given it incorrectly. So, here are some tips to keep in mind the next time your baby needs medicine.
Check with your pediatrician, every time—It's important to always get the correct milliliter dosage from your doctor. Your pediatrician will tell you how much medicine is safe for your baby based on his or her weight. And because this weight changes quickly, you should check with your pediatrician every time you give your baby medicine.
Know your baby's weight—The dosage for medication is usually determined by weight, which changes quickly. Therefore, it's important to be able to give your pediatrician an accurate accounting of your child's weight, because too little medication can be ineffective and too much medication could be harmful.
Use the correct dosing device—McNeil and the FDA advise parents not to use a teaspoon to give medicine, because one type of teaspoon may be twice the size of another. Also, dosing devices from different medicines can vary dramatically, with one measuring in ounces and another in milliliters. Therefore, you should only use the dosing device that comes with the medicine you are giving.
Dose in milliliters—It's best to avoid making any conversions. In other words, if the label calls for 1 ml and you have a dosing cup labeled with ounces, do not try to do the conversion. Instead, stick with the milliliter dosage and only use the dosing device that comes with the medicine. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you have questions.
Stay on schedule—Medications need to be given consistently, and at the right time intervals, to help your child get better and to avoid giving too much medicine. For example, if you are supposed to give the medicine every six hours, be sure that you don't give it any sooner.
Keep track of doses—The surest way to make sure you give the right dose at the right time, is to keep track of each dose of medicine you, or another caregiver, gives your child. This is as simple as noting the amount of medicine your child was given—and the time it was given. Download the fever diary
Stick with the recommended dose—It's tempting to think, if a little medicine is good, then more medicine would be better. But increasing the amount of medicine, or the frequency with which you give it, won't make your baby feel better faster. In fact, you could accidentally give your baby an overdose.
Don't give medicine in the dark—Giving medicine in a darkened room can increase the chances of giving the wrong dose. Be sure you measure out the medicine in a well lit area.
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