Teaching Kids About Using Medicine Safely
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Teaching Kids About Using Medicine Safely

Kids grow up fast. As they do, we teach them
as much as we can about safety. Hi, I’m Benjamin Ortiz. I’m a dad and
a pediatrician at FDA. One of the things kids will eventually need to know is how to use
medicines safely. They’re usually ready to begin learning this when they’re about
11 or 12 years old. But that doesn’t mean they’re ready to
take medicine on their own. Even older kids should only use medicine under adult supervision. When they are ready, start by teaching them
how to read medicine labels. For prescription medicines, help your child
understand that it’s important to use the medicine exactly as directed, like how much
to take and when to take it. For example, some medicines must be taken with food. Others
at bedtime. For over the counter medicine, read the Drug
Facts label together, and explain the information that helps you choose the right medicine and
explains how to use it safely. Be sure to point out the ingredients and explain
that taking more than one medicine at a time can be very dangerous, because two different
medicines may contain some of the same ingredients. If taken together, the medicines might not
work, or could even cause an overdose. For liquid medicines, show your pre-teen how
to measure the correct dose by using the measuring tool that came with the medicine. This tool
may be a special cup, spoon or syringe. Explain that other tools that are not meant
for medicine, like spoons for cooking and eating, could give a dose that is too high
or too low. For more tips on teaching older kids about
medicine safety, visit fda.gov/medsinmyhome

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