Getting Toddlers to take Drugs

in Motherhoodlast year

Toddlers, when they are hale and hearty, can be a pure joy to watch. Throw in a sprinkle of ill-health and the whole sweetness becomes sour in one's mouth. Only parents would understand what I am saying.

No one prays for their toddlers to ever fall sick because of the unpleasant emotion that comes with it, largely due to the fact that they cannot completely communicate how they feel in their bodies. However, when sickness comes, the next thing is to get medical attention, and this often ends up with a prescription of drugs, and or sometimes, intravenous injections.

Many drug manufacturers are quite smart and thoughtful. They try as much as possible to compose drugs meant for neonates and toddlers in such a way that they do not find them unpleasant in taste. While the unpleasant tastes of many drugs can be masked with some other components that will not interfere with the efficacy of drugs, the unpleasantness just cannot be masked in some drugs no matter how hard they try.

Syrups or tablets with pleasant tastes often do not pose problems for toddlers to swallow. The problem is usually with the badly tasting or smelling ones. This is not applicable to all toddlers anyway as some will swallow anything swallowable without batting an eyelid.

source: flickr

Even though drugs can be difficult to be administered to some toddlers, attempting to get them to swallow drugs is not often as dramatic as getting them to take IV injections. Still, some drugs have been designed to be administered in routes other than the oral cavity. A good example is suppositories that are usually administered into the anus. But the fact still remains that a large percentage of the drugs available for toddlers against different ailments are administered via the oral route.

Meet my Toddler, a repentant druggie

My toddler, a 2 year plus boy, had a penchant for anything drug-related his early days. It was so bad that a mistake of leaving any drug within his reach will likely end up a disaster because he will chew or drink everything. It was never a problem getting him to take drugs whenever the need arises - until more recently.

All of a sudden, he changed and stopped being the druggie that he was known for. It became difficult for us to administer drugs to him anytime his health declines. We always end up exhausting all the tricks in our sleeves and resort to violence (literally) before getting him to take drugs, but violence hardly solves any problem, you know. Some of the tricks employed include:

  • Singing and reciting his favourite poem while trying to put the drug in his mouth at the same time.
  • Promising to buy him junk foods if he can take the drug willingly.
  • Hiding the drug and sneaking it into his mouth while feeding him his favourite food.

Sometimes in the past, one of these tricks would work, while sometimes, they are totally useless and we would have to resort to holding him captive and forcing the drug down his throat. The problem is that, even when these methods work in getting the drug down his throat as desired, they sometimes boomerang as he ends up throwing up the content of his stomach along with the drug.

Nowadays, however, none of these methods works anymore and we always end up wasting much of the drugs meant for his treatment.

The solution

I eventually found a way to crack his code a few weeks back. We visited the hospital because he had some rashes on his skin and the doctor prescribed a drug for him, in tablet form. He was meant to take the drug twice daily for 5 days but the first dose ended up as a waste because all efforts to get him to take it proved abortive.

This made me think back. When I was younger, my dad would put any drug (tablet form) we were meant to take into swallow foods. He will ensure that the bolus completely covers the drug and this usually gives a feeling of swallowing ordinary food. For the records, swallow foods around here include eba, amala, pounded yam, etc. They are usually swallowed with soup and not chewed like many other foods. Hence, one can easily swallow any object concealed in the food along with a bolus of the food.

Armed with this information, I decided to try it out for the second day. I quickly prepared eba, allowed it to cool down a bit, took a small portion, and inserted a dose of the drug into it without allowing my toddler to see it. I then called on him to come and eat eba, inundated the bolus in a draw soup, and fed it into his mouth. He swallowed it without any hassle just as he will swallow the food ordinarily. Voila!

Eba. One of the swallow foods common around here. Just take a small portion, hide the tablet in it, dip the portion in soup and ask your toddler to swallow it. By Jide Charles (Jidus) - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

I administered the entire dose (excluding the one wasted) using this method and everything went smoothly - no tantrum, no persuasion, no throwing up. Since then, I have always preferred his drugs to be in the form of tablets since I would not be able to apply the same trick to syrups.

Does it have any effect on the efficacy of the drug?

Putting drug tablets in swallow foods might not be applicable to all drugs because some drugs are meant to be taken on an empty stomach. Not just that, unless specifically stated, it is recommended that the best way to get the best out of drugs is to take them with ordinary water.

A tablet that is concealed in a swallow food might take more time than required to start working because the food surrounding the drug would first have to be digested before the actual drug metabolism would commence. This means that there would be some delays before the drug gets into the body system. In other words, the efficacy of drugs might be impacted when taken in other forms apart from the recommended ones. But, hey, we just gotta get the drug down our toddler's bellies somehow. Right?

How do you get your own toddlers to take their drugs?

Thank you all for reading.


It is usually painful and some how frustrating when your child is sick, because you won't really know where your child is feeling the pain. Sometimes I think, mothers should be given super powers of x-rays vision to see what is wrong and attend to it accordingly.

Sometimes as a mother you feel like taking your child's pain or sickness into your body instead to relieve him.

For the drug trick 😂. The swallow method is the best for tablets and capsule but for the syrup or liquid, it usually difficult especially when the child is adamant. You have to do all kind of tricks and pray you succeed. I used lime to trick my sister's baby. He hates lime because of the taste. When he saw the lime and the drug, I told him to pick. The little guy went for the drugs. 😂 My mission was completed.

It's always a sleepless night for me whenever my child is sick. I wake up every minute to check on him. It's not a pleasant feeling watching your child that use to be very active so docile.

But then, there is this trick my mum used for me when I was little, she told me about it. She used a blindfold to cover my eyes so I would see the drug and sings my favorite songs.

My toddler will still throw it up :)

Those tricks don't work for him anymore. He's too smart for his age

Yeah, the sleepless nights are long gone for us. Thanksfully.
We never really had issues with ours taking medicine, but understood the challenges others had and felt for them.

Interestingly enough, this sort of works for pets too 😀

Lol. You just made me remember my childhood period when I used to take drugs with swallow foods like eba you mentioned here. The bad taste and smell of medicine made it undesirable to take directly. However, your new method will save you from having to promise the guy a reward for doing the needful among others you mentioned here. However, the disadvantage(s) of applying a swallow food along with drug is minimal.

they cannot completely communicate how they feel in their bodies.

Yes, It remains a serious concern!

As someone still waiting to see their child for the firts time(My fiancée is 7month pregnang) im just gonna take the tips and note it on my diary, thank you for this information XD

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