What is in the medicine cabinet for baby?
Mary Jo F. Kutler, D.O., is a pediatrician at Cardon Children’s Medical Center. For more information on this topic, contact Dr. Kutler’s office at 480-496-6444 or call 480-412-KIDS.
Question: My sister is expecting her first child. What types of medications and supplies should she have in her medicine cabinet?
Answer: Stocking a medicine cabinet with certain essentials can help put new parents at ease by making sure they are prepared to handle the unexpected, from a fever in the middle of the night to a stuffy nose or minor injury.
A digital thermometer can be used rectally, along with probe covers and petroleum jelly to moisten the covered tip prior to taking a baby’s temperature. Ideally, temperatures should be taken rectally or in the armpit; ear thermometers, while easy to use, are less accurate.
Non-aspirin pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, may be given using an oral syringe to infants over 2 months old to reduce a fever or relieve extreme discomfort from teething.
For babies older than 6 months, ibuprofen is also an option. An infant less than 2 months old with a fever greater than 100.5 F needs medical evaluation prior to getting acetaminophen.
When an infant is congested, nasal saline drops to loosen the mucus in a stuffy nose and a bulb syringe can help baby breathe more comfortably.
Giving over-the-counter cold medications to children under age 4 is not recommended. Keep an electrolyte solution on hand to help rehydrate an infant after moderate vomiting or diarrhea, but call your doctor to determine the proper dosage.
Helpful first aid supplies include antibacterial ointment for minor scrapes and cuts; gauze pads; mild hypoallergenic soap to clean any cuts; rounded safety nail scissors for trimming nails; tweezers for removing splinters; and basic adhesive bandage strips. Rubbing alcohol can be used to clean scissors, tweezers and thermometers. An instant cold compress is also useful to numb the pain of a minor injury and reduce any swelling, and a first aid manual can provide guidance if a medical professional is not immediately available.