When Your Child Needs Medications at School

When Your Child Needs Medications at School

Make sure that all goes well if your child needs medication at school. It just takes a little effort, cooperation, and monitoring.

Your child has been home sick. Now he feels well enough to go back to school, but he’s still taking medication. What should you do?

With a little effort, cooperation, and monitoring, you can make sure that your child is getting the proper care at school.

Follow these steps to make sure all goes well when your child needs medication at school:

First, contact your school nurse or principal

He or she can explain the school’s rules for handling and distributing medicine. Request a copy of the school’s policy. Find out:

  • How medications are stored. For safety, they should be kept in a locked cabinet.
  • Who will give the medicine. In most cases, this will be the school nurse. If the nurse is not on duty every day, the principal or another school official will probably dispense medication.
  • How your child will get the medication. Will your child be called to the office, or will he or she have to remember to go there?
  • The best way to check that your child is getting the medication. Can you call the office or school nurse? Is there a medication log that you can look at?

Put the details in writing

If your child is taking prescription medication, you’ll need to give the school a note from your child’s doctor. The note should include:

  • The child’s name
  • The name of the drug
  • The dosage
  • How it is taken (for example, by mouth with food or with water only)
  • The dosing schedule (for example, one dose at 10 a.m., repeat at 2 p.m.)
  • The reason for the medication
  • Possible side effects to watch for
  • Any special storage needs (for example, if the medicine needs to be refrigerated)
  • The doctor’s name and contact information

Write a similar note, either from a parent or doctor, for any over-the-counter medication your child is taking.
You may also need to sign a consent form to allow the school to give medicine to your child.
Update your child’s medical history forms as needed. Share information with the school about your child’s general health and list any medications given at home.

Take the medication to the school nurse or office

It should be in its original labeled container.

  • Do not send the medicine with your child. A child should not carry medicine in school unless he or she has approval from the doctor and the school to self-medicate. This may be allowed if the child has a chronic condition, such as asthma or allergies.
  • Keep herbal medicines at home. The active ingredients in these products often are not listed, and they could cause serious side effects. Most schools will not dispense them unless a doctor provides written approval.

Teach your child medication safety

  • Be sure your child knows what the medication looks like and how much and how often it should be given. This will help your child be sure that he or she is getting the right medication and dosage at school.
  • Tell your child never to share medication with anyone. That could lead to an accidental overdose or being suspended or expelled from school.
    The goal of giving medication during the school day is to keep children in school so they can keep learning. A child who could infect others or is too sick to learn should be kept at home.
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