Giving Your Child Medication
Enteral nutrition through a feeding tube is the preferred method of nutrition support in patients who have a functioning gastrointestinal tract but who are unable to be feed orally. This method of delivering nutrition is also commonly used for administering medications when patients cannot swallow safely.
Incorrect administration methods may result in clogged feeding tubes, decreased drug efficacy, increased adverse effects, or drug–formula incompatibilities. Various enteral feeding tubes are available and are typically classified by site of insertion and location of the distal tip of the feeding tube.
Liquid medications, particularly elixirs and suspensions, are preferred for enteral administration. Before solid dosage forms are administered through the feeding tube, it should be determined if the medications are suitable for manipulation, such as crushing a tablet or opening a capsule.
Medications should not be added directly to the enteral formula, and feeding tubes should be properly flushed with water before and after each medication is administered. Precautions should be implemented to prevent tube occlusions, and immediate intervention is required when blockages occur.
The following are the major recommendations in the current ASPEN Guidelines:
Several factors should be considered before administering medications.
How to give medicine to children:
Parents and carers need to know how to give medicines to children safely. Accurately measuring and administering medicines to children, helps avoid accidental overdosing or under dosing.
Read the label
Read labels and packaging each time you are buying a medicine and before giving a medicine to a child. Children’s medicines come in different forms and strengths for different ages. Make sure you know the strength of the medicine when measuring a child’s dose
The “active ingredient” is the chemical that makes the medicine work. This active ingredient can be found on the back of a medication box or bottle. Don’t risk double-dosing. If you are giving more than one medicine to your child, make it a habit to always check the active ingredients.
The dosage instructions need to be closely followed to avoid over- or underdosing. Do not give more than the recommended dose for the child’s age. The medicine dose is calculated on the child’s ideal body weight (or average weight) for their age.
Accurate measurements for liquid medicines matter. Spoons are for the kitchen, not medicine! A spoon does not provide an accurate measure.
Use the dosing device provided in the package, such as a dropper, oral syringe or medicine cup. Before using any measuring device, check the markings to make sure it can measure the right dose for your child. Get in the habit of asking for advice on the most accurate dosing device each time you buy or are prescribed a new medicine.
Keeping a record can help you to avoid exceeding the maximum daily dose and reduce the risk of double dosing. Each time you give a medicine to a child, write down: the name of the medicine, the active ingredient, the time given, the exact dose. This information can be especially useful if you need to see a health professional. It also helps ensure that no more than the recommended dose is given when there’s more than one person caring for a child.
It’s important to know your child’s current weight, how to interpret the medicine dosage, information on labels about age and weight, how to use your measuring device, and where it is. If you are not sure how to interpret dosing on product labels, check the correct dosage to give your child with your doctor or nurse.
****Always monitor your child for any adverse reactions to medications! Call 911 emergency services if you child has any of the listed “Warning Symptoms” on the back of the medication box or bottle.