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Giving Medicines to Children


Giving medication to children can be a daunting task. It is imperative to know the correct techniques for giving medicine to children.

What are the available types of devices?

There are many types of devices that can be used to effectively deliver medicines to children (see table below).

Types of devices:

Type Category of children Picture
Graduated Dropper and Oral Syringes Infants and young children – measure at eye level and administer quickly.
Dosing spoon Children who cannot drink from a cup.
Medicine cup Children who can drink from a cup without spilling.

How do we choose the type of preparation?

Liquid preparation.

  • Infants
  • Administration technique
    • Identify your medication and prepare the correct dosage.
    • Hold your baby with head supported and elevated at about 45°
    • Wrap your baby in a blanket.
    • Use the necessary device to administer medicine to prevent gagging and vomiting.
    • Do not mix the medicine in bottle of milk or juice.

Liquid preparation, chewable or crushed pills.

  • Toddlers And Preschoolers
  • Administration tips
    • Mix medicine with pudding.
    • Offer your child’s favourite drink after taking medicine.
    • Do not be angry or punish your child if he/she spits out the medicine.
    • Praise and hug your child for taking medicine.
  • School Age Children
  • Children aged 5 and older can usually swallow pills.

  • Administration tips
    • In certain cases you may need to crush and mix the tablets with ice-cream or pudding.
    • Do not allow your child to take any medicine without adult supervision.

What should you do if your child vomits?

When your child vomits the medicine :

  • Within 20 minutes of taking it, wait and repeat with same dose
  • Repeatedly several times, stop and contact the doctor

How should you crush tablets?

  • When your child is on medicine for a long term, you can buy a tablet crusher to crush the pills.
  • When the medicine is to be taken for a short term, crush the tablets using the back of a spoon on a clean piece of paper.

How should you dilute medicine?

  • Follow the instructions given on the package insert.
  • If you are unsure or there is no package insert available, ask the pharmacist to explain and provide a written instruction.
Last reviewed : 20 April 2012
Writer : Pn. Hajidah bt. Mohd Taib
Reviewer : Norhayati bt. Yaacob