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What to know before giving your children any medicine

When needed, medicines can improve lives and even save them. However, too much of any medicine can be deadly for a toddler, child or teenager.

“Some medicines may come in different strengths for infants and children,” said clinical pharmacist Megan Fleischman. “Be sure the medicine you give your child is right for his or her weight, and age range.

Look very carefully at how the dose amount is written. Be especially careful if there’s a period in the middle of the number. For example, “0.5 mL” is not the same as “5 mL.”

Giving a child medicine can be very dangerous if done incorrectly. The following are some important safety tips to remember before giving a child medicine, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

• Never refer to medicine as “candy” or another appealing name. This can confuse or tempt a child to try other pills.

• Be careful to give the correct dose and measure it out exactly. This includes reading the label each time over-thecounter drugs, like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, two popular pain and fever medicines, are given.

• Use a medicine syringe or dropper to measure the correct amount. Regular kitchen spoons do not accurately measure medicine and should be avoided.

• Be aware that some over-the-counter medicine is adultstrength and should never be used with children. Talk about safer options with a pediatrician or pharmacist.

• Give the medicine at the times intended, based on the prescription, or as instructed by the doctor or pharmacist. If a dose is missed, ask the doctor or pharmacist what to do. Never double up on doses, unless told by the doctor or pharmacist.

If a child is suspected to have taken too much of any medicine, call poison control, at 800-222-1222.