5 Mistakes Parents Make When Administering Drugs To Their Children



In recent times, I have been avoiding giving medication to my kids, not even painkillers, for a variety of reasons, including some of the scary stuff I have been reading about antibiotics, but essentially because I just don’t want to give them, and thank God, they have all been blessed with good health.

However, I broke my self-imposed ban some days back, when my daughter developed a fever in the middle of the night.  That was like the worst timing ever, and with my no-medication-at-home rule, I  didn’t have anything to at least bring down her temperature, so I just kept mopping her with a wet towel, whose effect seemed to only last for a few minutes, but it was better than doing nothing.

Even as I was doing that, my mind ran through the possible places where I might have some Paracetamol. I found some in my laptop bag, and I broke a 500g tablet into half, dissolved it and gave her. After a bit of struggle, thanks to the bitter taste, we were both able to get some sleep, just as the day was breaking.

Ironically, while I woke up groggily, my lil madam was ready to start her day smartly. I just wonder where children get their own energy from. After that experience, I bought a more appropriate for children bottle of pain killers, just in case of an emergency. But I’m still wary of giving them any medication.

Now, this is a serious shift from just a couple of years back, when I had a variety of medication for almost any situation; cough, fever, diarrhoea, antimalaria drugs, antibiotics and what have you. I had prescriptions for some, but I purchased some over-the-counter, without prescription. I have administered a prescribed drug to another child, just because they seem to be showing symptoms of the same condition, and then they are twins nau. I think it’s safe to say I have broken almost all the rules when administrating drugs to children, but not anymore.

While I was giving them all that medication, and they had grown to a stage where they sometimes demanded that I give them drugs because they felt a certain way, I just knew I had outdone myself and needed to retrace my steps. I was hardly taking any drugs myself, not even pain killers.

Nowadays, anytime they come to me with any complaints, we pray about it and I keep an eye on them, to see how it develops, and fingers crossed it doesn’t develop. No more rushing off to the hospital or pharmacy, and that is one of the blessings I can count this year.

These are some of the mistakes we make as parents when administering drugs to children.

Putting doctor’s orders aside

As you already know, when a doctor prescribes medication, there is usually a way that you are expected to take the drugs, and that is something I admit to not always keeping to.

Completing the dosage of medication is often a challenge, no thanks to the battle to get the kids to drink it, and with them feeling better, I might just skip a dose and give it another time.

But I know that is not something that will be happening soon. Whatever it takes, the dosage must be completed. If the dose isn’t complete especially with antibiotics, it can make the bacteria resistant, requiring even more powerful antibiotics to fight the bacteria and it may have more severe side effects.


Giving medicine to tame activity of kids

I know a neighbour, who is always threatening to give her kids sleeping syrups, just because she feels they are hyperactive and she could no longer deal.

And every single time she says that, most of the grandmas around would threaten her too, so, I guess it is safe to say it is all just threats and no action, and her babies are still just as active.

You see, lots of parents actually do this, and there have been reported cases of day care centers who do this, in a bid to deal with the number of babies they have, but make no mistake that this is an evil practice for any parent to even consider.

Yes, kids can get into everywhere, and seem to go on and on, but that is what being a kid is for that particular child. Let them enjoy their childhood without unnecessary medication.



Almost all medication comes with a measuring cup or spoon, but not all parents use these measuring spoons all the time, or even use them correctly when used.

Enter the household spoons and parents would turn to measuring experts, trying to gauge how much of the dose should be in the household spoon.

And if this study, from the New York University School of Medicine, which found that 70 percent of parents pour more than the recommended amount into dosing cups is really true, then it is only God that is helping us and protecting our children.


Parents start playing doctor

Do you remember that saying that the job of a mom is a multifaceted one, as she is a teacher, cook, laundry man, doctor, pharmacist and everything else in between. Some mommas actually take it seriously, and take it to the extreme too.

That is the only explanation for a mom to start playing doctor with her child’s health. I have done that before, when I was tired of constantly going to the hospital and I would just be like, “This new complaint is the same one Ola had last week, and they gave us this medication, so it should work for Ada too.”

That is not often the case, and doctors warn that giving unprescribed antibiotics also increases your child’s risk of antibiotic resistance.


Determining drug dose based on age, rather than weight

I learnt this lesson sometime last year, when my son developed some symptoms of malaria, and though I was tired of going to the hospital regularly, I took him to see a doctor, and the blood test showed that, indeed, he had malaria.

Before the doctor prescribed any drugs, she asked that he be measured and he was a little underweight for his age, so the doctor prescribed a medication suitable to his weight, rather than his age.

Left to me, I wouldn’t have bothered with the weight. I would just go with the age, which is often more prominent on packs of medications.

Well, pharmaceutical companies can help parents in this regard, by noting the dosage required based on weight too. Children come in all shapes and sizes.

These are some of the mistakes parents make when administering drugs to their children. Thankfully, most of these mistakes can be easily rectified.




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