Goodbye bad-tasting medicine

Getting a toddler or older child to take medicine can sometimes be a challenge, as many medicines for children come in a liquid form that might not taste too good. Adults can usually avoid having to taste their medicines by using pills. For children above 3 years or so, being able to swallow pills can make administrating medicines a lot easier. Here is a way to accomplish that.

Taking pills with water or other liquids is quite difficult, so we usually do not think young children can do it.  When we use liquids to get a pill down, our body (mouth and throat especially) expects to receive a liquid. If the solid pill is felt in the back of the throat, it often leads to gagging.

It is much easier to swallow pills using solid foods. Take a big bite out of a peanut butter or cheese sandwich. Chew it as you normally would, but do not swallow it until it is all chewed up.  Then take the pill and push it into the blob of chewed-up sandwich. Then swallow normally. Since your throat is expecting to swallow the sandwich, there is no gagging.  The size of the pill is much smaller than the size of the blob of sandwich, and it will go down without any difficulty.  Bananas also work well as they become slippery when chewed.

You can practice this with M & M’s and see how easily the “pill” goes down with the solid food. Once this skill is learned, nearly all medicines can be taken in pill form, and the battles over yucky tasting medicine are over.

This blog post was re-posted with permission by Dr. Lawrence Wasser. It originally appeared on his personal blog, Parenting Infants and Toddlers.


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Lawrence Wasser, M.D.

Dr. Lawrence Wasser is currently a pediatrician with UofL Physicians -- Pediatrics and associate professor of Pediatrics at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Dr. Wasser was born in the Bronx, N.Y. and grew up in Linden, New Jersey. He received his b.s. in engineering and applied science from Yale University in 1970, and his M.D. in 1974 from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He then completed a three year residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital in Boston, followed by a fellowship in behavioral and developmental pediatrics at the Child Development Unit at Harvard University School of Medicine, under the leadership of Dr. T. Berry Brazelton. Dr Wasser then joined a private practice in Louisville, where he worked in primary care for 27 years. He then joined the full-time faculty at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in the general pediatrics division at the UCHS practice on Broadway. In 2010, he moved to his current position as the director of the Newborn Nursery at the University of Louisville Hospital. For many years, Dr. Wasser has been giving parenting workshops both lo cally and nationally, helping parents survive the challenges of raising toddlers. He is the author of his own blog, Parenting Infants and Toddlers,

All posts by Lawrence Wasser, M.D.
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