I’m interested in exploring ideas on persuading a 4-year-old to take some medicine when she’s seriously ill. Luckily, the crisis is over now, but there was a time when my wife and I were seriously worried that we would have to admit our daughter to the hospital because she absolutely refused to take her medicine. She hates the taste, refuses to take it, and psychs herself out to the point that if she does swallow it, she immediately vomits.
The situation: She was ill with whatever was going around this season. It wasn’t the flu, more like a sinus infection. She was running a fever that was higher than 102 most of the time. We were able to negotiate an ibuprofen suppository in order to break her fever and get her temperature down. Our pediatrician prescribed liquid antibiotics, the bubblegum flavor we all love so much — but not my daughter. Even after explaining how the medicine would help her get better and how scared we were because she was so sick, she still refused to take it. We explained to her that if she didn’t take it, we would be so worried that we would have to take her to hospital and she was likely to get needles in her arm. We didn’t want that. I know it seemed like a fear-tactic, but I was trying to be honest and explain why my wife and I were so worried and insistent that she take her medicine.
What I ended up doing was slipping the medicine into her drinks without her knowledge. She would drink it up and after two doses and 24 hours, her fever broke and she immediately felt better. My backup plan was going to the pediatrician and demanding a suppository antibiotic (we requested one, but our doctor was convinced that it wouldn’t be as effective).
Are there any other suggestions? I’m all ears.
And thanks so much for your time!
It’s a good thing most children can physically cope with a variety of bacterial and viral infections (usually both are simultaneously occurring, sometimes with associated fungal infections that are systemic and hidden from those using symptomology to identify the etiology).
Antibiotics, from my experience, aren’t that bad tasting, and the tablets or caps can be mixed with applesauce or honey or other appealing food. It likely is the artificial bubblegum flavor that is the offending taste to your daughter. This is the reason I tried hard over the first cognizant years of my daughter’s life to help her have the skill of swallowing caps and tablets (small ones, naturally). By the time she was 6 or 7 she could swallow things, allowing me to use many kinds of medicine.
I hope you understand that when you outsource medical authority to some professional you are putting your daughter’s health in their hands, and this requires you to research the predictability of the results of that particular professional, if you wish to have a happy outcome that is. There are many, many natural and holistic healthcare options available to help with respiratory infections of various kinds, but if antibiotics is your choice, I would elect to go to adding tabletted or capsulated meds into a palatable food, explaining the medical nature of the item to your daughter will also help as they tend to wish to remove their own symptoms and the child wishes to have sensible actions they themselves can understand and take.
Hope that helps, and please contact me if you desire alternatives to antibiotics, or adjunctive therapies and medicines. 🙂
It sounds to me like you came up with a perfectly acceptable way to handle the situation. 🙂