Preschoolers and Medicines


Noteworthy Wednesday

Baby Center published a very nice helpful piece on eight medicines that you should not give your preschooler.

I would like to summarize it for you here.

Since the winter season usually brings with it colds and flu there is a tendency for over the counter self medication.

When it comes to healthcare one thing we know for sure is that children are not “little adults” and their reactions to medications can be much more severe. These adverse reactions in children can be more severe as well as  different than reactions of adults to the very same medicines.

There are some medications that are not recommended for use by children at all.

  • Aspirin

Yes, even aspirin is on the list of medications not to be used with children. It has been known for many years that aspirin use in children can make them susceptible to Reye’s Syndrome. Reye’s Syndrome can be fatal. Aspirin is in many over the counter medications. Look for the words, “salicylate “of “acetylsalicylic acid” in the labels of medications. Become a label reader!

For fever check with your child’s doctor who may prescribe acetaminophen or ibuprofen

  • Herbal Products

One of the products mentioned is the Chinese herb ma huang or ephedra or ephedrine. These are used as decongestants and have many side effects that include high blood pressure and irregular heart beats to name only two.

Check with your child’s doctor before giving your child any herbal remedies. Herbal remedies even though they may be natural can be harmful and can cause severe allergic reactions.

  • Cough and cold medications:

Use of “over the counter” cold and cough medications are not advised for use by preschool age children according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

A child can suffer serious side effects such as rapid heart rate, convulsions and even death from these medications.

  • Anti nausea medications

These “over the counter” medications should not be given to children at all without consulting your child’s physician. Anti- nausea medications have many risks and possible complications especially in children.

Vomiting in children can also be serious and you should consult your child’s doctor to prevent your child from getting dehydrated.

  • Prescriptions prescribed for someone  or adult medications/ EXPIRED medications

Never give adult medications to a child in smaller dose. If there is no dosage on the medication for children then the medication is not suitable for a child unless it is prescribed by a physician.

Do not give medications prescribed for another person even if it is another child in the family to anyone else. Give only prescribed medications to the person or child that is on the prescription bottle.

Do not under any condition give children or anyone expired medications or medications that do not look like they looked when the bottle was first opened. If the medication needs to be refrigerated keep it in the refrigerator. Make sure medications are kept at the temperature that is written on the label.

Do not dispose of expired medications in the sink or toilet as they can help to contaminate the water supply.  For information on how to dispose of outdated medications check this link.

Medications are to be used carefully at all times.

Parents should be very careful with medications for themselves and their children.

Medications should always be kept out of reach of children.

Even teenagers should check with parents before taking any medications.

Make that a household rule.

Potty Training


Noteworthy Wednesday!


Potty Training

One thing that we know for sure is this. “potty training” cannot be accomplished until the toddler is physiologically and developmentally ready. This readiness occurs between the ages of 2 years and 3 years. It is during this time that the child can consistently identify the signals from his full bladder and then have enough control to get to the potty.

When and how to proceed with “potty training”

Your child’s and your readiness:

Child’s Readiness Signs:

The signs that a child has reached this developmental readiness stage are:

  • Long periods of dryness
  • Asking to be changed when his diaper is soiled
  • Expresses pride in accomplishments

Chances are if you observe these signs it may be time for successful “potty training”.

It is important to look at what else is going on in your toddler’s life as well. If he is going through other transitions such as giving up a bottle, starting school or experiencing any other change in his routine it may not be a good time to begin “potty training” You will increase your chances and his chances of success if you are sensitive to these other transitions.

Your Readiness:

If you or your child’s primary caregiver is going through a difficult transition and cannot deal calmly with “potty training” then it would be better to wait a couple of weeks or so.

Create the right atmosphere.

Atmosphere is important.  The first thing you will need is a “child size” potty. http://www.babiesrus.comThere are many available. You might even want to take your child along when you buy it. At the same time pick up a picture book or DVD, which will help to peak his interest in potty training.

You might also want to buy an adapter seat. Make sure your choice is secure and comfortable. Children can be afraid of falling into the toilet and be sucked into the bowl. The flushing noise can also scare them. You may also need a stool to go with the adapter seat.

CAUTION: This type of seat involves some climbing and your toddler will always need assistance so that he does not fall and hurt himself. An injury in the bathroom can be serious so take precautions to keep your child safe.

For safety reasons, my preference is the child size potty. Make sure you read all precautions and warnings that come with potty equipment.

Children learn by imitation. Have your child try sitting on his “potty”. Encourage him/her to watch you use the bathroom. Remember, it is easier for a boy to learn  to us the potty while sitting down.

While you are assessing your child’s readiness and creating the atmosphere consider what approach you want to take to the actual potty training process.

Some suggestions:

  • Toilet training in less than a day and similar methods; see reference below.
  • Going along with your child’s cues and progress slowly, allowing him control the process in his own way.
  • Taking it slow. The steps of training may take a long time. Some children may accomplish it in a few days others may need several weeks or even months. Let your child take his/her time to move from one step to the next.
  • Praise your child, compliment him/her on having dry pants, getting to the potty and any successes that he has during the process.
  • Very important: accept accidents as part of the process. Do not punish or get angry with your toddler. Calmly clean up an accident and suggest that he remember to use the potty the next time.


Suggested toddler books:

“Everyone Poops” by Taro Gomi

“Once Upon a Potty”by Alona Frankel

“Uh Oh! Gotta Go!” by Bob McGrath from “Sesame Street”

Clocks Back and Baby Back on Standard Time…

If you have a baby that still takes a nap you will have to do a little adjusting to get him/her onto the new time schedule. Probably this morning he woke up an hour or so earlier due to the clocks moving back an hour.

So in order to accommodate, try to keep your little one up as close to the regular time for his nap and then put him to bed at his normal hour.

If your little one has given up his nap put him to bed as close to his normal time as you can and he will gradually adjust.

Good luck.  Happy sleeping…

Overwhelming Motherhood…



Being a mom is sometimes thought of as somewhat of a “thankless job”. Now, I do not mean that it is actually a “job” or that it is entirely “thankless” but at times these words come to define how many moms feel at some highly stressful moments.

If you talk to different moms you would probably get as many different answers as moms that you ask as to, what they do to keep stress under control.

One thing for sure is that stress can and does need to be controlled, or it will have a negative effect on your emotional and physical health. Taking care of yourself will reap rewards for you and your family.

Something to remember is this, there is not one way and one way only to deal with the stress of being a mother or a working mother. But there is a common denominator and that is TIME.

Working moms have to juggle various tasks at work and sometimes it is exactly these “work” skills that help them run a household and deal with the demands of a family.

A few suggestions of how to use your time to keep stress in check throughout the day:

  • Breathe

Sounds simple and it really is because you have this ability with you at all times. Take a few deep breaths to calm your mind and body down. Deep breathing sends a message to the brain to relax which in turn sends a message to the body to calm down.

  • Yoga

Helps to relax the mind and the body. Find a class or even a DVD to learn some simple yoga practices.

  • Acceptance

Accept your emotions.  Acceptance is key to dealing with stress, as this will hopefully lead to the setting aside of some personal time to deal with stress

  • Support

Go out for a walk with a friend. The point here is to get together with someone who can share some supportive moments with you.

  • Exercise

Give your child something he likes to do and take a quiet “time-out” for yourself. Exercise even for a short time will help

  • “Lower the bar”

Be realistic with your expectations of yourself, your children and your family. You will not be able to be all things to everyone all the time. Remember, if some meals have to include something  or everything from the freezer so be it.

When you get on a plane and they are describing the safety measures they always tell you if there is a change in cabin pressure the oxygen masks will activate. And the next thing that they say is, if you are traveling with a child that you should put your mask on first and then assist the child with his mask.

Think about this…you need your oxygen and strength to be able to help your children. The same is true at home.

Take care of yourself first, as only then will you have the energy and strength to take care of your children.

There just can be NO EXCUSES!