The Grandparents’ Medicine Cabinet

Feb 17, 2013 | Experts Corner, Health & Well-Being

a special feature by Dr. Marie T. Medawar, Pediatrician*


Surprisingly with children, when it comes to medicine, less is better. It is important to keep this general rule in mind. Remember to always communicate with your grandchild’s parents before administering any medication, unless it is a true emergency (such as an allergic reaction where there is no time to wait for a call back). Here is a list of some essential medications and supplies to have on hand:

For Fever

• A digital electronic thermometer is the most reliable but an ear thermometer is acceptable

• Fever reducers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen are available over the counter in newer formulations.
• Check with the parents for a dosing chart, and make sure they have checked this with their pediatrician. (Ibuprofen is not recommended under 6 months or if a child is vomiting.)

For Colds

• Saline nasal drops or spray

• Cool mist Humidifier

For Allergic Reactions

• If your grandchild has a known allergy, the child’s pediatrician may recommend keeping an antihistamine on hand (Diphenhydramine HCl).

• For more serious allergic reactions (nut or bee sting) the pediatrician will most likely recommend a prescribed emergency injectable medication (Epipen or Twinject).

For Wounds

• Cleansing agent such as Hibiclens

• Antibiotic ointment

• Adhesive bandages in different sizes

• Gauze

• Scissors/tweezers

• Instant ice pack (for bruises)

For Itching/Insect Bites

• Calamine Lotion

• Diaper rash ointment or cream

Any chronic prescription your grandchild may be on (i.e. asthma rescue inhaler etc…)

What you should know as grandparents/caregivers is that it is safer to avoid certain over the counter medications for children. Here are some examples of medications you should NOT give:

Cold Medications: Decongestants and antihistamines are not considered helpful in treating cold symptoms in general and should not be used under the age of 2 years.

Antidiarrheal Medications: Are not advisable

Aspirin and Aspiring Containing Products: Can cause a rare condition affecting the brain called Reye Syndrome

Store any medication in its original container and only use the dropper or measuring cup that comes with the package. Never call medicine “candy” and remember to always lock your medicine cabinet to avoid any accidental ingestion by your grandchild.


* Dr. Marie T. Medawar is a board certified Pediatrician and Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She trained at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and has a post graduate degree from UCLA. She is an attending physician at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and is the past Vice Chief of Pediatrics at Providence Tarzana Medical Center. Dr. Medawar practices in Encino, California with Valley Pediatric Medical group.

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