Last month I wrote about administering medication to your child. Guess what? I thought of more information you should know.

Expiration Dates

Always check the expiration date on medications. Check this when you purchase the medication and before you administer the medication. In addition, I would suggest that twice a year (perhaps when you change those batteries in your smoke detectors) you also go through your medicine cabinet and throw out and replace all medications that have expired. You surely don’t want to wake in the middle of the night with a sick child only to find outdated medication.

Safety Measures Should Be in Place

With regard to the medicine cabinet, I strongly advise keeping all medications out of the reach of children. Although they may have child-resistant caps — never underestimate the capabilities of a determined child. When your child is old enough to understand, teach him or her never to take medication unless given by mom, dad or another caregiver.

It’s important to discuss medication with your children. I spent time taking out different pills and candies … lined them all up and asked my children if they could tell which was medicine and which was candy (for example: Sudafed can look a lot like Red Hots candy). We then talked about never eating candy or gum unless they ask a grown up. They understood that you couldn’t always tell what is medication and what is candy.

I remember the time they were playing at a friend’s and came upon nicotine gum left out. Fortunately, they knew to ask mom first. In the unfortunate event of an accident, be sure to have syrup of ipecac on hand and check the expiration date periodically.

Do not give the syrup of ipecac without first checking with poison control. Ipecac causes vomiting, and some medications can cause as much harm coming back up as they do going down. Keep the number for poison control near your phone and never be shy about using it.

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