How to Keep a Child From Spitting Out Medicine

Boy taking liquid medicine
Giving medicine to a child who spits it out can be made easier. (Image: Dynamic Graphics Group/Dynamic Graphics Group/Getty Images)

Few things in life are as frustrating and worrisome as watching your child spit out the medicine you gave her to help lower her fever, stop her terrible cough and just make her better. Most parents have been in the same situation, and it never ceases to worry any of them. You know that with this medication, you can help your child feel better, feel more comfortable and ease your own worries, but she doesn’t understand that, despite its awful taste, she needs it.

Step 1

Camouflage your child’s medication, advises the Ask Dr. Sears website. For example, if your child is prone to spitting out medicine because she hates the taste, sneak it into a small bowl of applesauce or mix it with a little bit of water and pass it off as juice. You can put it in anything, but be sure not to use too much food or drink because you don’t want your child filling up before she is finished and not finishing the medication.

Step 2

Use a medicine dropper and aim it toward the back of your child’s cheek. According to the Children’s Medical Group of Wisconsin, by aiming the medication toward the cheek, as close to her throat as possible, she is less likely to spit it out. If you worry she will still spit it out, gently hold her cheeks together once the medication is in her mouth. She will have no choice but to swallow it, even if she is upset that you forced her to do so.

Step 3

Ask your child’s doctor if the medication she was prescribed comes in a form other than liquid, advises the Ask Dr. Sears site. For example, if the medication comes in a chewable tablet, you might ask for that to prevent your child from spitting it out. If she still doesn’t want to take the chewable tablet, you can try crushing it and adding a bit of water to it so that a paste is created. Place the paste on your finger and insert it into your child’s mouth. You can avoid her teeth by placing your finger against the inside of her cheek; this will cause her to swallow the medication without fuss.

Tip

According to the Children’s Medical Group of Wisconsin, there are a few other things you should remember when giving medication to your child. Always ensure she is sitting upright, and do not give your child more medication if she manages to spit a little out. However, if she vomits immediately after taking the medication and you can see it in her vomit, you may give her another dose.

Warning

Do not administer medication mixed with food until you discuss the effectiveness of the medication as it is mixed with food or drink with your child’s pediatrician or pharmacist, advise child development experts at the Kids Health website. The effectiveness of certain medications can be altered when mixed with food or liquid.

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