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Taking Medicine Safely

What can you do to make sure it is safe for your child to take a new medicine?
Tell the doctor or nurse your child's current weight or ask them to weigh your child (in kilograms).Medicines for children are based on weight. Ask the following questions:

  • Why does your child need a new medicine? How will it help?
  • What are the names of the medicine?
  • Is there written information about the medicine?
  • What does the medicine look like? Is it a liquid or a pill? What color is the medicine?
  • What are the instructions for taking the medicine? Repeat the instructions back to the caregiver.
  • What are the side effects? Remind the doctor or caregiver about your child's allergies and reactions to any medicines in the past. Tell the doctor or caregiver if you do not understand any information about the medicine. When you get the medicine, check the label for your child's name and the correct medicine name and strength.

Can you cut or crush pills or put them in food if your child has trouble swallowing them? Ask the doctor or pharmacist. As an example, time-release medicines should not be cut or crushed. Ask if the medicine comes in a liquid or can be given another way.

What should you do if your child has accidentally taken a medicine or taken too much medicine? Immediately call your local poison control center or your doctor. Keep these phone numbers handy.

Arkansas Children's Hospital
1 Children's Way
Little Rock, AR 72202-3591

Call: 501-364-1100

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