20 answers

Giving My 3 Year Old Liquid Medications

My son is on Amoxicillin and giving it to him is a nightmare!! He refuses to swallow it. We use a squiter and offer a reward after it he takes his medication "nice". It ends up everywhere except in his stomach. We have also tried to offer it to him by in small doses with a drink of his choice. We have also tried to give it to him by spoon. He hides and would rather go to his room to bed then take it. Does anyone have any suggestions on successful ways to give a toddler liquid medicine? I feel so bad when we have to try and give him this medication.

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So What Happened?™

Thank you for all of the suggestions!! Not wanting to take the medication was a control thing for my 3 year old. My husband and I ended up making a game out of it and put the ball in his court and the medicine went down. Toward the end of the dose, he was reminding us that it was medicine time!!!

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I found when my children were little that to mix the required dose into a drink of juice or milk usually worked. Try something that he really likes to drink and do not make it a large portion or he won't get the medicine. My daughter-in-law uses this same method with her ADHD 3-year-old and it works.

hi N., one response said it was cruel but sometimes it is the only way...i can get anything in my 3 year old if i have to. i sit on him, arms on his side, one hand holds his mouth open and one hand delivers the medicine. it is easier to use a plastic ml syringe and stick it as far back as possible. my son would bite down on the syringe and that actually worked better because then he had more of a problem spitting it out. for the swallowing, hold the nose or blow in their face. its not cruel, its what you have to do to make him better. my son had to be on constant, multiple medications for a year and a half. sometimes its easy and sometimes its not.

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Have you tried to let him do it himself? either in the squirter or as a drink? and have a cup of his favorite juice/milk/etc. to drink as soon as he drinks the other stuff.
that's what worked best with my daughter - doing it herself. Good luck!

My son would gag from the medication and end up throwing up, so I know what you're going through. You could call your doctor and tell him or her (better yet, the nurse) what's going on. Just make sure they know that you have tried everything and your son will not swallow this medication. They may suggest having it flavored by the pharmacy (didn't work for us), or putting it in juice, or something else that may work for you. In our case, I just asked for another antibiotic that would work that also came in a chewable form. Good luck with this!

I found when my children were little that to mix the required dose into a drink of juice or milk usually worked. Try something that he really likes to drink and do not make it a large portion or he won't get the medicine. My daughter-in-law uses this same method with her ADHD 3-year-old and it works.

Get your amox CHEWABLE. My 3-yr-old will NOT take liquid medication of any sort whatsoever- he never has. It was great when he was 2-1/2 or so and could begin taking the chewable medication. It worked like a charm, and I highly recommend it! Best of luck.

I haven't read through all of the responses so someone may have already mentioned this. I can totally identify! When our daughter was about 6 months old she was on amoxicillen and would throw it up. I got puked on 4 times in 2 days and our recliner had to be cleaned twice!Amoxicillen has a terrible taste! It may help if the medication is flavored. I think all pharmacies will add flavor to kids' medicines. Target pharmacy is great! They have a little chart that rates medications on how yucky they taste and what flavors are the best for covering the taste. Maybe if your son can pick the flavor he will be more willing to take it. Good luck!

when I know there is no possible way to get my kid to take medicine I opt for a one time injection. If I'm going to be a bad guy I only want that once instead of multiple times a day for 10 days.
If you've done everything you can to get your child to take it and it just is doing no good being spit all over, that's not going to make him better. maybe you would consider injection instead.

I know this may sound very cruel, but our son went through the same issue at around the same age. Unfortunately, it took both of us to get him to take it and it wasn't the easiest thing to do. We literally had to hold him down and use the syringe to inject it into his mouth and then we had to hold his nose so that he would swallow it. I know it sounds ABSOLUTELY cruel, but when they have to take medication, you have to do what you have to do, and that is what we had to do, because he had so many ear infections.

I've had to hide medicine many, many times. Applesauce is a good one, yogurt, ice cream, pudding. Whatever it takes. Just make sure the child doesn't know that you put it in there.
Good luck!

I work in a pharmacy and hear this alot! I've also gone through it with my kids. Well have you tried getting it flavored? Some pharmacies do this for a small fee. Let him pick what flavor and that might help. Another is hide it in choc milk. Just a little and make sure he drinks it all. Choc hides most flavors. Sometimes it just doesn't matter how it tastes, it's taking it they just don't want to. It's something they can control. So hiding it is the only way. I agree with another response a z-pak (5 days) in liq or even a tri-pak (3 days) is only once a day. Sometimes you have to hold them down with their head between your knees, hold their cheeks, give it to them and blow on their face. If you have a shorter duration of medicine you only have to do this few times. Give them big hugs and kisses and maybe a treat. I know it sounds mean but it's better then them getting sicker because they are not getting the medicine. And trust me alot of parents have had to resort to this! :) Eventually they will grow out of start taking what they need to. I would not recomend the chewables they do not taste well at all! Good luck!!

Sigh...this is hard...when it was our problem, we actually had some doctors tell us "you just have to be the bad guy, stand up and be a parent and just give him the medicine" and I was thinking, my kid made himself vomit instead of taking it; YOU make him take it!

My doctor first off suggested different flavors. Our K-Mart pharmacy (and maybe Walgreens?) will alter the flavor of medicines for kids.

That said, the antibiotic my kid was on was AWFUL. We ended up dumping two full bottles down the sink, and I could smell them for days--I can't blame him for not wanting that!

We had him on steroids for a severe allergic reaction, and opted for the pills. I crushed them good, and then put them in sweet and strong flavored foods--a berry smoothie (with tons of sugar), yogurt, pudding, ice cream--and that actually worked better. It did NOT work for us to hide the liquid antibiotic in ANYTHING--but if you haven't tried that, i'd try that, too.

Ultimately, our doctor did say she could give our son a shot--which kinda worked; he's afraid of shots--but I also think it just made the fear a lot worse, too.

Anyway--it's hard; I sympathize. Good luck.

Does he get a glass of juice or milk with a snack everyday? If he does do you get it for him? If you do get it for him, I'd be like (whatever son's name is) go in the living room and mom will get you your snack. Then I'd mix it in the milk or juice or if he's still on a sippy cup shake it to mix it together. Or you could also mix it in his food. Does he get a dessert everyday put it in that. Like a good dessert that you could hide it in would be a shake. Ya know a scoop of ice cream a splash of milk, a splash of his medicine (hehe). So what I'm trying to say is hide it. Make it so that he doesn't know he's even taking it.

You say you've put it in a drink of his choice. Well he has already decided that he doesn't like the medicine or want to take it. So it doesn't matter if he chooses what drink to put it in, he's not going to want to drink it all. The secret here I think is to sneak it in the drink or food without his knowledge.

Good luck!

My daughter is 3 also and was the exact same way until I took the squirter and put water in it and showed her how mommy took medicine like a big girl and asked her if she wanted to try. Now I put the medicine in the squirter and hand it to her and she gives it to herself. She likes feeling like she is a big girl and in control of how fast she takes the medicine and then we put the drink of her choice into the squirter to rinse it out and get the taste out of her mouth.

not sure if you are using the cup or the medicine dropper or squirter...switch to something different and try that. also, try giving in smaller doses more often...or give it to him in the bath or let him pick where he will sit for his medicine (maybe on top of the counter??) Do you have a reward chart?? Give him stickers, quarters etc for taking his medicine nice. Small bribes work wonders...Give him choices for his rewards.

Our son was the same. We ended up having the dr give him a shot in the office. I don't know if your ped will do this....but at least you know that he is getting the antibiotic. Our son spit up or spilled so much of it that we never new how much he was getting. A lot got wasted. There were a couple times that we had to get it refilled, just to make sure we were getting it all in.

The also have z-pack available for kids. They are more expensive than amoxicilin, but you only have to give them meds for 5 days instead of 10.

Thankfully, he grew out of this. Now he is 6 1/2 and takes medicine just fine.

hi N., one response said it was cruel but sometimes it is the only way...i can get anything in my 3 year old if i have to. i sit on him, arms on his side, one hand holds his mouth open and one hand delivers the medicine. it is easier to use a plastic ml syringe and stick it as far back as possible. my son would bite down on the syringe and that actually worked better because then he had more of a problem spitting it out. for the swallowing, hold the nose or blow in their face. its not cruel, its what you have to do to make him better. my son had to be on constant, multiple medications for a year and a half. sometimes its easy and sometimes its not.

Don't have any advice, besides let your doctor know that you are unable to get it in his body. My 2 year old son is the same way, he gets ear infections about 3 times a year and we have resorted to skipping antibiotics and just doing homeopathic remedies and pain relief via suppositories. If the illness gets really bad, I know that the doctor's office will give shots instead, but they don't always like to do this. Best of luck to you, wish I had a better answer, but maybe it will be nice to know that you are not the only one with a child who refuses oral meds.

I really don't think this has to be struggle. My son has been on amox. 2 times. The first time it was white and he hated it. I had the pharm. flavor it grape, but he still didn't like it. They suggested that I put it in grape juice. I worked like a dream the strong grape flavor covered up the medicine flavor, but make sure he doesn't see you put the medicine in the cup. (plus he loved that he got juice that whole week, he thought it was a big treat) I ususally did it behind the refrigerator door. It blocked me from where he sits. The second time he was prescribed amox. it was pink... I don't know what the difference is, but he really liked it. He would ask for more after he took his dose. After a few days he didn't want to take it any more. So I stated to put it in a dose cup. You know the little ones that come on the tylenol, etc. I put it on his tray and he would always drink it in his own time. Sometimes he would drink it right away, and sometimes he would say he didn't want it. I would tease him a bit and tell him I was going to drink it and he would decide to take it. I really hope this helps because holding them down is a nightmare. ...I tried that too, but they always spit it out and you dont' get anyware. You can always call the pharmacy to see if it comes in other flavors/ forms. The pharmacy can make the request for another form to your dr for you and it is usually faster than trying to call the dr directly. Good Luck!

I know that Amoxicillin has chewable tablets. Your best bet would probably call the doctor and tell him/her what has been happening and see if they can change it to a chewable tablet. Then if they can do that, tell your son that it is candy, or maybe he just wants to feel like a big boy and this will be a "big boy meds". I know that my daughter that will be 3 in a couple of weeks, wants to do everything herself and wants to do "big girl" things. I personally think that amoxicillin is the best because it taste like bubble gum and kids seam to love it.. I would look in to it. Good luck.

hey N.,
ask the pharmacist to flavor it. take your son with you and let him pick out the flavor. if this does not work then try asking your dr for a shot, which is easier for you and the pain for him is only momentary. i ask for my youngest son to get a shot because he is at the age that they give pills for him and he can't handle taking a pill. he gags. just a few suggestions. good luck!

We have kind of the same problem with our 2 year old. He has to take medicine for his night terrors every night and the problem isn't him taking it, it's him swallowing it. He wants to hold it in his mouth forever and he ends up spitting it out if he laughs or tries to talk. What I really don't understand is that his medicine is nasty...it smells like peppermint schnapps, really strong. BLACH. So, what we have found that works is if you get the medicine in his mouth, and you might have to pin your son down for this one, if you tap his throat he has to swallow. You might want to try this on yourself, but you just have to lightly tap it right in front where you can see his throat move when he swallows - it works right away everytime. You can also try getting it in his mouth and plugging his nose. He's got to swallow to take a breath. Both those worked for us. I know it sucks to be the bad guy with this type of thing, but when it comes to their health sometimes we have to do things we don't like. :( Good luck.

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