How Old Should My Child Be Before I Allow Him/Her To Be Responsible For Taking Medicines?

Dr. Szefler answers the question: 'Entrusting Kids With Asthma Medicines?'

ByABC News
May 15, 2008, 1:46 PM

— -- Question: How old should my child be before I allow her/him to be responsible for taking medicines?

Answer: The answer to that question really depends on the child's level of maturity and their interest in taking responsibility for their medicines.

In general, children less than seven years of age need to be supervised both in terms of the time they take their medicines and the technique that they use to take their medicines. As they get older and show more interest in becoming independent, the parent should still monitor the medication administration.

Children should not be responsible for refilling their medicines or even picking up their medicines from the pharmacy. They should let the parent know when their medicine is getting low.

The parent, on the other hand, should be aware of the amount of medication in a prescription and anticipate when that will get low. If it is getting beyond that time point, they should become more suspicious of whether the child is actually taking the medicine. The medicine should be in a convenient place so the parent can periodically monitor whether the medication is being taken appropriately.

The parent should also be aware that during stressful times such as finals or vacation times, the child may become forgetful and not take their medicines. And that is a particular time where the parent will want to step up their level of supervision.

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