Don’t Spit It Out

By Christy Lenahan: Macaroni Kid Health Hack Contributor April 4, 2019

It is that time of year, Spring, yes; but it is also the time of year when we are all on some sort of

medication. Spring/Summer colds, the extended flu season, allergies, sinusitis, ear infections, etc; they

are plentiful right now. Fortunately, there are medications to help us and our children through these

ailments when needed, but they don’t always agree with our little ones. I am sure you have uttered the

words, “Don’t spit it out,” on more than one occasion when giving your kids medications that they

genuinely need. And, on more than one occasion, one of you ends up wearing the medication because

your little one did the exact opposite of what you asked.

There are a few tricks to avoid this mishap. First and foremost, always explain to children who

can understand why you are giving them the medicine and that it may not taste so great. Many kids just

need reassurance as to why you are adding something new and “not so great” to their routine. If they

know it will help them, they tend to go a little easier on you when that first taste of bitter hits their

tongue. If taste is a huge issue, there are ways to disguise the taste. Typically, pharmacists use flavoring

in many of the medications prepared for children, but some may not – so always inquire about adding

flavoring to the medication. For children greater than 1 year of age, you can mix the medication with

chocolate syrup or honey…just remember that honey should never be given to anyone under 1 year of

age as it can cause botulism! You might want to also consider using Cool Whip to disguise the

taste…who could resist such a treat? Regardless of how you disguise the taste, make sure it is only

mixed with a small amount so you can ensure your child receives the whole dose of medicine!

Another trick, especially with smaller children and babies, is to use a syringe and squirt it into

the cheek. By doing this, the medicine bypasses a majority of the taste buds. An added benefit to using

this method is that dosing with syringes is a lot more accurate than dosing with medicine cups, so it may

even be worth your while to continue using a syringe with older children as well. If you do not have a

syringe, ask your pharmacist and he or she can provide you with one! If you are using the syringe

method, make sure the child is in an upright position and that you only squirt smaller amounts into the

cheek, so that he or she doesn’t gag.

Until next time…