Baby taking medicine

Do's and don't of pediatric medication safety

By Caitlin Murphy, Butler University PharmD candidate.

DON'T use your kitchen spoons to measure your child’s medicine. These can be inaccurate and your child may be getting the wrong dose of medication.

  • DO ask your Wellspring pharmacist for a free dosing syringe to help administer the correct amount to your child. Some over-the-counter medications come with a dosing cup or syringes that are safe to use.
  • DO keep medications out of reach of your kids. Accidental overdose can be a life-threatening emergency. If your child has accidentally ingested medicine, call 911 or the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222).

DON'T save leftover medication. Some medications, including liquid antibiotics, expire in 10 to 14 days and should be thrown away after the course is finished.

  • DO finish all of your child’s antibiotics, even if they are starting to feel better. The infection can still linger even after your child’s symptoms start to go away, and taking less than the full course can lead to antibiotic resistance, which can lead to the drug being less effective in the future.

DON'T use medications after their expiration date. After their expiration date, medications are not guaranteed to be safe or effective for use.

  • DO store certain medications in the fridge. For example, augmentin (amoxicillin/clavulanate) and keflex (cephalexin) suspensions should be stored in the fridge. Amoxicillin suspensions prefer storage in the fridge, but it is not required. Cefdinir and omeprazole suspensions should be stored at room temperature. If you have any questions about the correct storage of your medication, ask your Wellspring pharmacist.

DON'T give over-the-counter cough and cold medications to any child under the age of six years without talking to your doctor. Unintentional misuse of these medications can lead to serious side effects and even death. Medications that are safe to use in all ages include saline nose drops and Vicks® BabyRub.

  • DO reach out to your Wellspring pharmacist for any other questions or concerns you have about safely using medications in children!

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Wellspring Pharmacies are now Walgreens pharmacies with three locations in our hospitals to serve you: Community East, Community North and Community South.