Medications- Over the Counter (OTC) and Health Provider Prescribed

Early care and education programs need a note from a licensed health care provider for over – the-counter (OTC) and prescribed medications. Prescription medicines should include clear instructions on the pharmacy label. OTC medications need a note from a health care provider in addition to the label on the medicine container. The note must specify the name of the child and medicine, when, how much and the route to give the medicine.

Some OTC medications pose special risks. Over-the-counter cough and cold medications contain ingredients that children less than 4 years of age should not have. Ibuprofen comes in concentrated drops for infants and syrup for toddlers. Infant drops are stronger (more concentrated) than syrup for toddlers. Be careful! More medicine is in 5mL of infant drops than in 5mL of syrup for toddlers. Be sure to use the correct dose measuring device for all medications.
Six Rights of medication administration = Standard 5 Rights + right documentation. The National Institutes for Health identifies the universal “five rights” of medication use. The five rights are the right patient, the right drug, the right time, the right dose, and the right route. In early care and education settings, a 6th Right is necessary: “right documentation.”
Safest Option: If possible, have parents/guardians administer medication at home. Some parents may be able to give their child medication during the day at the child care facility.

ECELS can help you implement safe medication practices at your program and earn PD credit! On the home page of the ECELS website, enter "medication" in the search box.  The professional development options listed below and other resources will be displayed.
• American Academy of Pediatrics, Healthy Futures Medication Administration Self-Learning Module
• ECELS Webinars on Medication Administration
Model Child Care Health Policies: Section 10 F, pp. 75-76 contains model medication administration policies
Helpful articles: Medication Safety from
Access Standards for best practice with the Caring for Our Children  online search tool!
• Standard Written Policy on Use of Medications
• Standard Contents of Medication Record        Reviewed and reaffirmed 6/2021