If painkillers can cause serious complications in adults when used improperly, how cautious should we be when giving them to our children? Painkillers can be given to children safely, but you need to be extra careful. Whether your child suffers from pediatric migraines or a broken arm, it’s important to follow these basic painkiller safety guidelines.
What to Buy
The first step in safely administering painkillers to your child is to purchase the right product. Children and adults require different formulations. Some medications even have different formulations for children of different ages. Children’s Tylenol, for instance, is intended for ages 2 to 11, while Infant’s Tylenol can be used for younger children with a doctor’s supervision. Before buying any painkiller, make sure it is formulated for children and safe for your child’s age.
What to Know
Before giving your child any medicine, including painkillers, there are a few things you need to know about painkiller safety. Fortunately, the label on the bottle contains most of the information you will need.
First, you need to know the active ingredient and its purpose. Remember that the name of the medicine is usually different from the active ingredient. For example, Tylenol and Advil are brand names. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are their active ingredients. Two medicines with different names could contain the same active ingredient, so it’s important to check.
You also need to read the warnings about potential side effects or drug interactions, the dosage instructions, and the information about when to call your doctor. Make sure you read these every time, in case something has changed, such as your child’s weight and therefore the correct dosage.
What to Do
Of course, it’s not enough to just read the label, you also need to follow the instructions carefully. Give only the recommended dose and only as often as the label indicates. Otherwise, you could make the problem worse or create a new one by overdosing.
Along these lines, it’s important to only use the dosage tool that came with the medicine. Using a tool not intended for a certain medicine could result in you accidentally giving your child the wrong amount. Two dosage cups can be different sizes or have different measurements marks.
What to Avoid
Avoid giving your child medicine intended for adults. Often the adult and child versions of the same medicine are formulated differently, and the adult version may not display the correct dosage amount for a child.
Never give aspirin to a child under 18. , Aspirin can cause Reye’s syndrome, a rare but life-threatening disease. Also, avoid using cough and cold medicines on children under four. The active ingredients in cough and cold medicines could cause serious complications in young children and the remedies have not been proven to be effective in kids.
As always, if you have any questions at all, call your child’s doctor. “Better safe than sorry” is a good motto in general, but it is never truer than when considering painkiller safety and when your child’s health is at stake.