We are so exited to share these amazing tips from Pediatric Pharmacist Stacie Lampkin.
Parenting Tips: How to Remember if you gave Medication to a Child
By Stacie Lampkin, PharmD, BCPPS, BCPA, CA
Kids may need medications at any point in time.
One of the hardest parts about giving your child medication is remembering if you actually gave the medication! (Administering medication to a child can be a challenge too, but that’s a topic for another day.)
When multiple parents or caregivers are supporting a kid’s health, this adds a layer of confusion into the mix. Did you give the medication? Did someone else give the medication? Did no one give the medication? Or worse, did more than one person give the medication?
Whether a medication needs to be given for a short number of days or every single day for years, a system should be put in place to help everyone remember to give medications and most importantly to keep track of when medications are given.
As a pediatric pharmacist, I often recommended families use a phone reminder and calendar tracking system.
A phone reminder is just what it sounds like. Setting an alarm on your phone to go off when a medication is due to be given. Most phones even allow for an alarm to be named, so you can know which medication is due at what time. This is great to help remind you to give medications, but not so great to help you know if you gave the medication. It’s easy to push snooze or turn off an alarm and never give the medication.
In order to help keep track if medications have been given, I always suggested a few different calendar tracking methods. This might look like:
- Method 1: Printing out a calendar and adding the medication name and times into the calendar.
- Method 2: Writing the dates and times that the medication is due in columns on a piece of paper.
- Method 3: Creating rows for medications and times with the date on top.
Once these are set-up you simply check off the corresponding date and time after you give the medication. This may seem simple enough, but no method is perfect.
Barriers and challenges to the calendar systems might include:
- Creating the calendar. (Who has time for that!)
- Remembering to check off the calendar. (Especially if you don’t have the calendar with you when you go to give the medication.)
- Getting confused and checking off the wrong time or medication. (More medications can lead to a higher chance of mix ups.)
- Losing the calendar. (It’s easy for papers to get thrown somewhere.)
I rarely recommended using a pill box, but that is an option for medications that are tablets or capsules. Be extra careful with storage! Most pillboxes are not child proof nor child safe. Nobody wants their kid to accidentally get into the medications.
While all these strategies can be useful to help you remember to give your child their medication and most importantly if someone gave the medication, my new favorite recommendation is tooktake!
Benefits of tooktake:
- No need to create a calendar and waste paper.
- Tooktake are labels! This means they stick right on the medication bottle.
- No risk of accidentally crossing off a time on the calendar for a medication that wasn’t given.
- No chance of losing the calendar or forgetting to pack it with the medications.
- No need to transfer medications into a pillbox.
Regardless of which method you use, figure out a way that helps your family keep track of which medications were given to your child and when. And, if you haven’t already, give tooktake a try!
About the Author:
After graduating from pharmacy school in 2009, Stacie pursued a pediatric pharmacy residency and a career in academia. As an associate pharmacy professor, clinical pediatric pharmacist, and aromatherapist, she uses her knowledge to educate future healthcare professionals. In 2019, she became a board-certified patient advocate after experiencing first-hand the difficulties of navigating a new health issue. Armed with education and resources; Stacie teaches people how to be better advocates for pediatric patients and provides pediatric medication education. As a patient advocate, she teaches families and pediatric patients how to convey their health and care needs, navigate the healthcare system and wellness spaces, and make informed decisions with confidence.
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