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Kids and Medicine Safety (VIDEO)

Posted February 23, 2011 featuring Ernest Leva, M.D.

Ernest Leva, M.D.


Photo of Ernest Leva, M.D.

Ernest Leva, MD, is the Director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey.

How are you feeling?

Not so good.

Not so good? Oh. Let me feel your head.

Whether it's to relieve symptoms related to a cold, allergies, aches and pains, or fever, millions of American parents turn to over-the-counter medicines to ease their children's ailments.

Children will get approximately 10 viral-type illnesses a year associated with cold and cough. And therefore, parents are going to want to help their children.

Over-the-counter, or OTC, medicines are safe when used as labeled, but can have risks when misused. It is important that parents and caregivers in charge of children's health and well-being always treat medicine with care and know how to safely give OTC medicines to children. This is a big responsibility, but it doesn't have to be a difficult one.

Has he had any fever?

Maybe one a day ago; 99.8.

When parents are giving medications to children, there's a couple of very important points that they should keep in mind. Parents should read the labels of the medications they're giving; should choose a medication that is appropriate for the symptoms of the child; should certainly not give the medication any longer than it's recommended; and lastly, should not give the medication more often than is recommended.

Christopher looks fine; his lungs are perfectly clear, his ears are fine, his throat is okay.
He has a little bit of runny nose and a post-nasal drip. He has a little bit of a cold.


When giving medicine to children, here are some other important tips doctors say to keep in mind:

- Never guess the amount of medicine to give; measure exactly. Don't decide to give more medicine because a child seems more sick than the last time.
- Use the measuring device that comes with the medicine.
- Never use longer than the label instructs, or at higher doses unless your doctor specifically tells you to do so.
- Don't give children adult-strength formulas.
- Only use the medicine that treats your child's specific symptoms. - Don't give your child two different medicines with the same active ingredient.
- Never give aspirin-containing products to children or young people for cold or flu symptoms or the chicken pox, because of a possible association with a rare condition, known as Reye's syndrome.
- Do not give oral OTC cough and cold medicine to children under age four.

- Talk to a doctor with any questions.

Every six hours, okay?


Make sure your child's doctor knows all the prescription medicines, over the counter medicines, and dietary supplements your child is taking to avoid any interactions or overdosing. Or consult your pharmacist.

You're gonna give this to her about three or four times a day.
The dose that you're going to be giving her, basically right...right up to that point.


If you have any questions regarding the use of over-the-counter medicines, speak to your doctor, healthcare provider, or pharmacist.

Alright Chris, one more five, one more high five. We'll see you, buddy.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can keep your kids safe, healthy, and help them feel better during the cough and cold season ahead.
For more information, visit OTCsafety.org.

Parents can use all the help they can get, and when kids get sick there is much to remember. Before you give your child over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, there are a few tips to keep in mind.

Pediatrician Ernest Leva, MD, and MedHelp join OTCsafety.org to provide parents with an informative video regarding children’s medicine safety. In the video above, Dr. Leva provides parents with tips on safe dosing, including reading the drug facts label, choosing medications that only treat a child’s specific symptoms and not giving medications for longer or more often than recommended.



About From the Experts

OTCsafety.org has partnered with Better Health, MedHelp, and third-party experts to create the From the Experts resource, a section dedicated to providing you with information from experts about the safe use of OTC medicines for you or your loved ones.

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