You know those liquids that you are trying desperately to shove down your child’s throat in order to make them better? There is a good chance that they taste AWFUL. And that does not make your job any easier. I know, I hear it every day. You need keys to succeed in getting your kids to take liquid medicine.
Imagine having someone in your face coaxing you with sweet noises and smiles to “Open Up” only to experience the agony of rotten egg taste in your mouth. You wouldn’t want to open up again either. You really can’t blame the little stinkers.
In residency training, our pharmacy did something awesome for us budding Doctors.. They made little samples of watered-down kids medications for us to try. And some were SO bad. For example, I still have no idea how parents get their children to take Mucomyst. Those parents are smarter than the rest of us, I promise.
If you would like a full list of the meds we tried with descriptions AND better tasting alternatives, check out the Kids Medicine Tips File Share section. Simply Subscribe Below to gain access.
I have been lucky enough to experience the positive side of medication for kids first hand. My one-year-old, Eliza LOVES Tylenol. I’m pretty sure she thinks it is candy. She sees the little syringe and starts her little, “Umm, umm” It is so cute. I would like to think that is due to my wonderful Doctor Mom parenting skills, but it is really just due to the fact that it TASTES GOOD. And that brings me to my keys to kids medications:
KEY #1 and 2: TASTE
Yes, it is that important. Some of this you can control and some you can’t. If you are struggling with medications like antibiotics, some options taste a lot better than others. For instance, Omnicef tastes way better than Vantin. Both are in the same class of medication. Benadryl tastes better than Claritin – not exactly the same class of medication but close alternatives. Sometimes just getting the medication in is more important than a perfect match. Talk to your Doctor and pharmacist about options that taste good if you have a struggling child. There are also options like Flavor Rx that pharmacists can add to improve the flavor of medications.
Key #3: AFTERTASTE
Some medications don’t actually taste that bad but the aftertaste is atrocious. Keppra and Neurontin are examples of this. And these poor kiddos are on these meds for a LONG time. Be prepared with something yummy to chase those medications with, such as a mint or drink. If you can obscure that aftertaste, they generally aren’t that bad.
Key #4: Get AROUND the taste buds
Getting that medicine around the tongue will decrease the taste in general and cause a less significant reaction. The best trick I have found is to gently blow in your child’s face to get them to open the mouth. Be prepared and shoot that medication to the back of the throat or side of the mouth. Either will help.
Key #5: GET THOSE KIDS TO PILLS ASAP
If you child is old enough that taking the medication looks like drinking a soda, they need to be on pills. I know it’s a hassle but, believe me, downing that amount of a foul-tasting liquid is worse. So many kids I see are at a reasonable age for pills but just haven’t ever tried them. It WILL be helpful to get them over especially if they are going to be on medication long-term.
Simple Solution: Getting kids to take medication can be torture. Especially if it doesn’t taste good. Try to get a medication that tastes good and, like Eliza, they may love it. More than likely, you will need to use tricks, though. Be prepared for after-taste and bypass those taste buds. And get those kids to pills as soon as you can. Nothing worse than a teen who cries like a baby at medication.
And remember to check out my Kids Medicine Tips in the File Share to know which medications taste best.
For more information on administrating liquid medications to children, check out:
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