Daughter Wont Take Medicine!!! - Chandler,AZ

Updated on December 23, 2013
H.T. asks from Chandler, AZ
21 answers

My three yr old daughter absolutely refuses to take medicine. She was prescribed an antibiotic for an ear infection and we have tried everything--hiding it in her food (without her seeing me do it), bargaining with her, asking her to take it, even forcing her mouth open. She's learned she can just push it back out with her tongue. (It's in the liquid form--I wouldn't even try giving it to her if it was a pill). I don't know what's left to do. Does anyone have any other ideas?

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answers from Dallas on

Would she give it to herself? My son liked to give himself medicine and took it easier that way. Have her juice available so she can sip right away if it tastes yucky. Explain why she needs it and ask her to help you. Don't lie about the taste.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

With my oldest, we pretty much had to hold her down, and drip it in, a bit at a time..... not fun, I know.....

If you can squirt it into their cheek, and just a tiny bit at a time, she can't push it out as easily.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Jacksonville on

I don't mean to sound _____ (fill in the blank), but the one thing I do not see in your list of things you have tried, is simply telling her it must happen and then giving her options about how to proceed with that.

That (the above) is what I did with both of my children right from the start. There was no bargaining, no begging, no sneaking involved.

"Billy/Bonnie, the doctor says you need this medicine to make your ears feel better. Do you want to drink water after you take it or do you want to have a sip of juice? Ok, here's the juice/water/tea/soda cup. You hold that, and as soon as you finish swallowing the medicine, you can drink as much of it as you want.
Open up... "

One of my kids was a little slower... she needed more time to mentally get "ready"... and I didn't rush her. Just waited without a lot of fuss or drama. The bigger deal YOU make it, the more control they realize they have, and the bigger drama it will become.
Matter-of-fact: this is going to happen. HOW it happens, you can help me decide.
Now that you have skipped all that... you have another arrow in your arsenal... "Bonnie, you can swallow the medicine, or we can go to the doctor and he will give you a shot. Which do you prefer?"

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Ask the pharmacist ASAP if you can get the medication flavored differently. Did the pharmacist offer to flavor it or just issue a standard flavor "as it comes"? Many liquid meds can be flavored differently. Yes, you'll need to get the prescription re-filled, but if the pharmacist can add a flavor your child likes better, it could make a huge difference. Is the liquid red or pink? I always find that those colors usually mean a vile-tasting med. Try seeing if the pharmacy can make it grape-flavored -- that seems more appealing to my kid, every time.

Don't wait -- call the pharmacy ASAP when they open tomorrow and ask.. They may not be able to change the flavor of this particular med, but if not -- call the doctor's office and ask if they can prescribe another antibiotic that comes in a flavorless liquid that the pharmacy can flavor differently.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I had one who went through a period of time when he tried to spit it out. He was younger, but we had to hold him down on his back so gravity worked with us, hold his nose closed and then put it in his mouth. It's pretty much impossible not to swallow with liquid in your mouth and your hosed pinched closed.

Good luck

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

This is one of those "you are the boss" situations. She is old enough to understand reasoning. "Sue, you know you have hurt ears, you know that this medicine makes it better. Now you have a choice, either take the medicine, or I will make you take it."

When my kids were little and fighting it, the scene went like this: I lay them on the ground and straddle them. Their legs/feet under my butt, only enough weight on them to keep them from struggling. Their arms under my knees. This kept both of my hands free. Medicine in a syringe, left hand squeeze on both sides of the face, in front of the jaw joint, forcing it open. squirt about half the medicine under the tongue or inside the cheek. They can't get behind it and spit it out from those spots. Then quickly plug the nose, which forces them to swallow. a quick forceful blow in the face will also make them swallow. Then repeat for the second half. No screaming, yelling, talking. Just get it done. Matter of fact. It was their choice. Which way would you like the medicine?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Have you tried a syringe where you stick it in the back of her throat and then squirt it in? I have been known to man handle my kids by sitting on them and their arms and doing it the hard way! It's needed medication so fight me but it's going in! It's not torture! When they were babies we would take a plain nipple and fill it and let them drink it down before they knew what was going on, lol.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

This is easy and non-violent.

Sit on the floor with a soft blanket under you. Have the medicine syringe filled and ready to go, next to you.

Sit with your legs in a V.

Get your daughter and place her head in the inside corner of the V.

Put her arms under your legs and gently but firmly put your legs down on the ground. This WILL NOT harm her. [BE SURE TO SQUEEZE YOUR LEGS INWARD TO HOLD HER BODY IN PLACE]

Take one finger on one hand and pull the side of her lip and then move it to the back of her mouth where there aren't any teeth. Pry her mouth open even if it's only slightly. She will NOT be able to bite you if you do this properly.

Take that syringe and squirt it to the back side of her mouth and she'll be forced to swallow it. She'll be unable to spit it out. She won't really even be able to taste it because it won't wash over her tongue.

Have a drink and a treat, like her favorite fruit or her favorite lunch, ready for her.

I had to do this with two of my girls. My third one would watch her older sisters and would automatically do it, but never fussed it up in the first place lol.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

You can talk to your pediatrician about getting a shot of antibiotics instead of a prescription. I know a girl who has to do that for her kids who wont take medicines and she said it's much easier.



answers from Rochester on

Is it flavored? Most pharmacies will flavor kids' meds. I know Target pharmacies have a list of favors that can be added to the meds. My kids do much better taking the med if they have gotten to choose the flavor. Talk to your pharmacy and see if you can bring it in and have it flavored.

Also let her have a drink of something before she takes it and ready to drink as soon as she takes it.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Put the med in a syringe. The kind that you are able to work with one hand, even the type this is like an huge eye dropper. Put the med aside, maybe in the front of a drawer.

Take your daughter and lay her down on top of a dresser or something about waist high to you, the med should be within reach of your right hand. Take a blanket and wrap her up burrito style. I am right handed so this is how "I" do this.

I put my left arm around the head, laying it on the dresser top. Then I use it to hold the head straight and use the fingers to help open the mouth and more. She's going to be kicking and screaming but this is good. She'll have her mouth open and be swallowing a lot.

Use your right arm to go across her rib cage and hold her down. Use your right hand to hold the dropper/syringe. Use your left hand and right hands together to get her mouth open. Put the dropper/syringe in her mouth. She may bite it or try to push it out. Don't hurt her of course but squeeze a couple of drops into the back side of her mouth. I try for the space between the jaw teeth and the jowl. This is soft tissue and she can't spit it out so quickly.

Then just keep going back in and putting a couple more drops in. She'll get some down.

IF you do this a couple of times she's going to know what's coming and she'll fight you even more. Stay calm and look her straight in the eyes and say

"Why does mommy have to do the medicine this way?" She will say stuff not right. Then say "Mommy has to do meds this way because you have to take them. Dr. XXX said if you don't take this med you have to go to the doc's office and get the med in shots because you have to have the meds. We are going to do the med like Dr. XXX says. Would you like to take the med in your mouth and swallow it without being a burrito?"

If she says she wants it in a shot instead load her up and go towards the doc's office. If she asks where you're going tell her it's time for her meds so you're heading to the doc's office to get the shot. She should totally freak at this if she's a normal 3 year old. They usually hate shots.

You will be, in effect, teaching her to conform and decide she wants to take the meds because you giving her the med is so much worse.

We had to do this a few rounds of meds then our little guy was totally ready to take meds no matter how disgusting it was. That white antibiotic is the nastiest stuff....



answers from Phoenix on

so sorry. I had the same problem years ago. I tried everything mean and drastic to no avail.(plugging the nose and forcing it in never ever works, just creates a big mess. good luck.
I even froze it in orange juice as a mini slushie.
I ended up cheating though. I got the antibiotic in a pill form, crushed it up and put it in peanut butter on a spoon. or again in orange juice or even oatmeal. I did offer a tiny candy as a reward. antibiotic takes so many days, at least they looked forward the candy (they'd hold it as they took the medicine). sometimes antibiotic doesn't work and the dr has to switch to another one and you have to start all over.
quit fighting, bribe, whatever it takes as long as the experience becomes easier as this is not the last time she'll have to take medicine.
gotta somehow make a game of it and try different ways. after one (disguised) is successful you take tell her later that her medicine was in that little slushie or crushed in the suringe of grape juice, as you are glad her managed to take it that she will get better and it is important.
good luck



answers from Dallas on

You could ask the doctor and see if the medication is available as a shot. At least that is fast and you wouldn't have to fight with her with each dose. Some meds just taste bad. You could ask the pharmacist to see if they could flavor it (Kroger pharmacies do that here in Texas) to her favorite flavor. That helps in some cases, depending on the meds. Do you have a medicine syringe? sometimes that makes it easier to shoot it in the back of her mouth. What is it that she doesn't like --the texture, the flavor, having a spoon pushed into her mouth or having to swallow it ??? Good luck


answers from Dallas on

I would just go get an injection and be done with it.

Yes, it may cost you extra but you get your child well.

My daughter was horrible at meds because she never had any for so long. When she did get meds, she was old enough to know take it and get better or get worse.

I'm sorry you're going through this... It sucks. Thankfully, it didn't last very long around here because we were rarely on meds.



answers from Phoenix on

I feel your pain. My oldest could be a fighter when it came to medication too. One time she told the doctor shed rather have a shot...she was only 4!

It truly is a matter of "who's the boss" and Jessicawessica's non-violent suggestion is awesome!



answers from Phoenix on

Tell her a story where she is the hero by taking her medicine. Or give her a "special date" with Daddy & Mommy - to Build a Bear, or whatever, but she doesn't get it unless she takes the whole 10 days...



answers from St. Louis on

My now 4 year 3 month old son is like this. He's on antibiotics for an ear infection and I was telling my parents how I'll be surprised if he takes it all because he always spits medicine out, won't drink or eat it if I hide it in food, gags and then throws it up. They suggested I give him an option - take it by spoon, in a drink (this was okay'd by the dr) or I would have to hold him down. The first day I gave it to him in a full drink and it took awhile but he got it down (2x). The second day, my dad gave him the medicine and just gave him maybe 1-2 oz of juice. He prefers it that way because it's watered down but it's not a huge drink. He took it the past three times with just a bit of juice and doesn't love it but will do it because he doesn't not want mommy to hold him down and make him take it! Good luck!



answers from Philadelphia on

I bought a bottle of DaVinci's cherry syrup and I put some in the dose that I give my daughter. It works every time and she never gives me a problem.
I also use it when I give her Tylenol and Morin too. The costs about $8 but it lasts forever and it comes out cheaper than having the pharmacy flavor the medicine.

It really is true that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, lol



answers from San Antonio on

Yep I agree call the pediatrician and take her back for a shot of antibiotic.

Sometimes even sitting on them and dripping it in a drop at a time can work.

I feel your pain...cause boy was I shocked the first time my son spit a whole mouthful of pink antibiotic right in my face after I squirted it in...



answers from Chattanooga on

I agree with the shot... Better to get it I all at once, than fight with it all week.



answers from Chicago on

I used to mix it in sons yogurt (blueberry or strawberry flavored seemed to work best). Would make up in advance and then have him go get it from the fridge - I got the smallest yogurts I could find. Kid never knew he just got the medicine. Ha! 1 for mom!!!

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