Medicine Safety

Working with groups of children inevitably leads to a lot of illnesses. It only stands to reason. After all, children do not have immunity to the 100+ viruses that lurk in the shadows. And too, some children are just prone to chronic ear infections, colds, sore throats, and other such illnesses. As getting sick is as much a part of childhood as scrapes and falls, so too is having to take medicine, whether it be an over-the-counter remedy or a prescription from the doctor.

Administering medicine and ensuring it is safely out of a child's reach is something parents and caregivers should be concerned about. Moreover, it is something parents and caregivers need to discuss in detail. Parents need to give the caregiver explicit instructions on the amount of medicine to be administered, the times it is to be given, and most important, what signs to watch for in the event the child suffers an allergic reaction, whether or not the medicine needs to be kept refrigerated, and so on.

Proper Procedure

To ensure proper handling and documentation of any medicine administered to a child, caregivers would be wise to use these very important forms:

    * Permission Form to administer medication filled out and signed by the parents
    * Medication Administration form for documenting every time the medication was administered, and if the child showed any signs of a reaction to the medication
    * Medical Information Form filled out by the parents upon registration of the child into care. This form is a quick reference for emergency contacts, allergies, and other pertinent information on the child's health.

These forms can be found in our Exclusive Products section on Forms, or in our book, Caregiver Aids: Business Forms For Caregivers and Parents.

Medicine Safety Precautions

Below is a list of other medicine safety precautions:

    * All medication should be kept in a locked cabinet or drawer. If medication is to be kept refrigerated, ensure it is in a place where it is not visible to a child who opens the refrigerator, and that it is securely sealed.
    * Each medication should be clearly marked with the child's name.
    * The numbers for the Poison Control Centre and emergency contacts for each child should be posted by the telephone. (Please visit our Health page to locate the Poison Control number in your area.)
    * Use proper measuring utensils to ensure the child receives the correct dose of his/her medication. Using tableware to measure medication is not a good practice to get into and other children may put the utensil in their mouths if it is left on a counter and not cleaned off immediately. It is also a good practice to clean the measuring utensil immediately after use and place it with the child's medication.
    * Never give a child medication that was prescribed for someone else, not even a brother or sister. This includes over-the-counter fever-reducing medications as well.
    * Always go over the instructions with the parents prior to administering to ensure doses are taken at the right times. For example, certain medications are prescribed to be taken at meal time and are only effective if taken as directed.
    * For nonprescription or over-the-counter medication, always read the instructions careful to ensure the medication is safe for children, especially very young children. Never administer these medications if there is not a dose listed on the label for children of certain ages.
    * Always administer medication until it is used-up or the recommended time (number of days) has lapsed. Generally, prescription medication is filled to the precise days or number
      of doses.
    * If you have questions or concerns, talk to the child's doctor or pharmacist.