5 Tips to Keep Kids Safe with OTC Meds

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Disclosure: I'm an ambassador for Consumer Health Products Association. All thoughts and opinions are my own. A long, long time ago in a gala...okay wait, that's not it.

A long time ago, I became VERY aware of the importance of correct dosages as they related to medication. And it wasn't with a kid.

Abuela suffered a stroke one day and my sister found her strewn on the floor. I still recall that I was trying to descale a fish (a task I've never again done, now that I think about it). I ran to the hospital and she spoke very briefly to me before going into a weird coma-like stage for about 4 weeks.

Fast forward to her return home. She was put anti-seizure medications. Except...the doctor didn't have the dosage right. So, she had another seizure/stroke while at home. Thankfully, I was there that day.

Ever since, I have been acutely aware of the importance of proper dosage. But even THEN, you guys! Even then, I didn't give my child the right dosage of meds when she had a fever and she experienced her first febrile seizure.

I am going to be horribly honest here. As much as I hate that the Frog Princess has had to experience that, I will take under-dosing versus an overdose. Neither is good but the alternative of what could happen in an overdose makes me sick to my stomach. Wrong dosaging happens a LOT more than we think. Like, every 8 minutes. Every. Eight. Minutes. A child receives the wrong medication or the wrong dosage

Recently, there was a story in the Washington Post about a baby that was given allergy meds to get him to sleep. Y'all, I don't even have words for this. I just don't. I know sometimes people come equipped with all of this erroneous information but, we need to make sure that we let people know and/or remind them of a few things.

The first thing?

Do not give a child an allergy, cough or cold over-the-counter medicine to get them to sleep. Is this a thing?! I was so heartbroken for that mother.

You can see the awesome infographic below but I want to point out a few more things we should remember:

  1. READ the labels! I can't tell you how many times I've picked some  over-the-counter med and had to put it back because I realized it wasn't safe for the Frog Princess. It might take a bit longer to shop but, the kids are worth it!
  2. Administer dosage by  weight and not age. This is what caught me when baby girl was 19 months old. I had the dosage for 12 months but she'd had a growth spurt and had gained weight. 
  3. NEVER EVER EVER give your child over-the-counter meds that are supposed to be for adults.
  4. When providing multiple meds, be sure that one does not have the active ingredients of the other (like cough medicine that already contains ibuprofen and then also giving an older child ibuprofen. That's a no no).
  5. Be sure that you have ONLY ONE person is administering meds and if there are more than one, keep a list! We keep track on the white board on the fridge of dosage, medication and time since we alternate ibuprofen and acetaminophen when the Frog Princess has a fever. Having a list ensures that we are not leaving it to memory AND that more than one person can administer the meds safely and with all the knowledge they need. Also, communicate all of this with your child's caregiver. In that case, I'd recommend a journal that you can put in the diaper bag.

Infographic: Choose and Use Over the Counter Meds

There are SO many things that we need to remember when keeping our kids safe. We worry about helmets, keeping them away from bad guys and making sure they are buckled into their car seats correctly. A lot of times, we forget about the dangers in our home. I hope this helps keep you and the kiddos safe.