Your medicine cabinet is probably full of ointments, pills, and other necessary items to keep you functioning, whether it’s daily medications or items in case of emergency, cold, or flu. In addition to items for you, there are some essentials you should always have handy for your kids to avoid a late-night run to the 24-hour drug store. A child, after all, can catch a cold at any time, scrape a knee, or start running a fever.
While your parental instincts will kick in, and there are plenty of non-medicinal strategies to help comfort a child or baby who isn’t feeling well, here is a list of items you'll want to double-check that you've got ready in your medicine cabinet.
10 Cold and Sore Throat Medications
Especially for kids in school, colds and flu are super common, as they are passed around from one kid to the next. So you should always have cold and sore throat medications ready.
These can help ease a runny nose and sore throat. They come in lots of yummy flavors, as well as in chewable or liquid format. It’s not a bad idea to keep one of each in different flavors, so if your child decides they hate grape in the throes of flu, you can tempt them with cherry instead.
9 Cough Syrup
There’s nothing worse than a child with a bad cough, especially if it’s keeping them up at night. A little bit of cough syrup might do wonders to alleviate a harsh cough and help a child get some sleep.
In addition to syrups, there are also handy lollipops that a child can suck on to help ease a cough or, if nothing else, distract them from it. Those are great for during the day, of course, not at night.
8 Ear And Eye Drops
Ear infections and earaches are often passed around school classrooms. While you might wish to make a visit to the doctor to get things checked out, for immediate relief, ear drops can help ease the pain of an infected ear.
Meanwhile, eye drops specially designed for pink eye can help reduce the redness. In both cases, the child might require antibiotics (always consult your doctor), but these two items are must-haves for the medicine cabinet to provide instant relief.
7 Fever Medication
Any parent knows that when your child is running a fever, you stand by with a thermometer in hand, constantly checking to make sure the fever doesn’t rise too high. If the child has a high-grade fever or is showing real signs of discomfort, it’s time for some medicine. Always have these handy not only for your kids but also for others.
If you have friends or family visiting with kids, there will almost always be at least one time when someone’s child is running a fever and they’ll ask if you have any medicine. It’s always good to be prepared. Speaking of which, make sure you have a thermometer as well. There are several different kinds, so take your pick.
6 Kids' Nail Clippers
All children need to have their nails clipped regularly, and it's often a real ordeal for everybody concerned. A good pair of child-friendly clippers is essential so you can cut down those fingernails when they get too long and with caked with dirt underneath, as well as those 10 adorable toes.
The more friendly look of nail clippers for kids will be less intimidating for kids who hate when you have to pin them down to do this.
5 Nasal Aspirator
While a nasal aspirator will likely be used more with babies and toddlers than older kids, it’s always good to have one on hand in case a child has a back-up of guck in their nose that they just can’t seem to get out.
This is especially true for kids who might not have grasped the concept of blowing their nose yet. Mom and dad can use it to clear the nostrils so baby or toddler can breathe easy again, then work on teaching them how to blow it out themselves.
4 Oral Electrolyte
If a child gets a bad bout of diarrhea or vomiting, he or she can lose liquids fast, which means they run the risk of dehydration. You can have them drink water, but they can quickly rehydrate with an oral electrolyte solution which replenishes the body of fluids, minerals, and nutrients that might be lost during multiple trips to the bathroom.
They usually contain sodium, potassium, and chloride. It’s great to have on hand for the parents as well, should one of you end up with the stomach flu, or wolf down some bad sushi!
3 Itch Relief, Rash Cream
Once the summer is in full effect, the mosquitoes come out on a quest for blood, along with many other insects. Kids who love to play outdoors will inevitably get bit by a few, so it’s worth having some itch relief cream on hand to help soothe the bite so the child isn’t incessantly itching it.
Various types of itch relief creams are available, including others that are specific for rashes or other skin irritations as well. If your child’s pediatrician hasn’t recommended a prescription cream, and your child sometimes gets rashes, whether it’s due to irritation, heat, or another factor, having cream on hand will help.
2 Nasal Decongestant
If your child is really blocked up and congested, a nasal decongestant can help, though there is some research that suggests it isn’t safe for kids under the age of 12. Sure, you could simply run them a bath and steam up the bathroom to provide some much-needed humidity or use a humidifier. But additional decongestants like a rub or even eucalyptus oil added to bath water could provide some relief.
They do smell quite pungent, but the kids will thank you for it once they’re breathing freely once again.
1 Allergy Medication
Not every child has allergies, but sometimes they can arise when you least suspect it. If you have an inkling that your child might be allergic to something like grass, dust, cats, or dogs, it’s wise to have some allergy meds on hand to alleviate symptoms like itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, or even rashes or hives.
Kids' allergy medication can come in both chewable and liquid form. Follow the correct dose based on weight and hope for the best. If you have pets at home and your child often has playdates with friends, it’s a good idea to have some on hand as well in case someone has a mild allergy to the pet you have, as long as their parents have given you the go-ahead to give them some.