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Items to keep in your medicine cabinet for Children

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It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it! This is true when your child is sick. You don’t want to be running to the pharmacy at the last minute with a sick kiddo in tow to get an over-the-counter medicine you didn’t have at home. To avoid that, keep these items on hand in case of childhood illnesses.

Newborns Under Two months

  • Nasal saline – to help moisten the congestion.
  • Bulb suction – useful for any boogers/congestion that is interrupting baby’s feeding sessions or sleep. (Personally, I don’t like snot suckers for babies. It can irritate the delicate nasal membranes causing them to bleed. Saline is fine and just suck what you can at the opening. Don’t jam anything too far up if you can avoid it.)
  • Digital thermometer – find one that is multipurpose, meaning (axillary) underarm, rectal, or (oral) under tongue. For children under one, I prefer rectal thermometers as they are most accurate.
  • Cool mist humidifier for baby’s room if it’s very dry.
  • Aquaphor healing ointment as a moisturizer and for future abrasions and minor cuts.
  • Diaper rash creams – Barrier cream like A&D, Vaseline or Aquaphor baby healing ointment and zinc oxide creams (white cream) for red rashes.
  • Gas drops (if desired).

Two Months and Beyond

  • Children’s acetaminophen (i.e. Tylenol) – Tylenol can be given over two months of age for pain and/or fever and is useful to have at home after the two-month vaccines for any fever/discomfort. Infant Tylenol is actually the same dosing as children’s Tylenol. Dosing charts can be found online or from your pediatrician’s office.
  • Medicine dropper.
  • Hydrocortisone 1% – For those minor rashes like bug bites or eczema patches. This can be used twice a day to an area for sporadic use. If you are finding you’re using it frequently, speak to your child’s doctor.
  • BABY version ONLY of chest rub for cough and cold.

Six Months and Beyond

  • Children’s Ibuprofen/Motrin – This is great for pain and/or fever over 6 months of age. Infant ibuprofen is a different dosing from children’s ibuprofen as the infant version is more concentrated. Dosing charts can be found online or from your pediatrician’s office.
  • Children’s Zyrtec (Zyrtec if preferred as is as effective as Benadryl and less sedating) – Only to be used over 6 months. Antihistamines can make kids drowsy so check with your pediatrician PRIOR to using, especially if your child is under 2 years old and it’s the first time. Of note, Benadryl has gone out of favor of use due to side effect profile and better tolerated meds with equal (or better) efficacy like Zyrtec.
  • Pedialyte – for any stomach viruses when your child is not tolerating breastmilk or formula. Discuss with your peds BEFORE using!
  • Cold pack for bumps and bruises.
  • Bandaids – if they keep it on!
  • Bacitracin – it’s my favorite antibiotic ointment!
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Children’s toothpaste

Children Over One

  • Honey for coughs and colds
  • Tweezers for splinter removal

Children Over Two

  • Vicks vapor rub (adult version is fine after two)
  • Over the counter medicines that are age appropriate if honey doesn’t work

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Dr. Mona Admin

Hi there!

I’m a Board Certified Pediatrician, IBCLC, and a mom of two.

I know the ups and downs of becoming a mom and raising kids.

I help moms ditch the worry and second-guessing so you can find more joy in motherhood.


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All information presented on this blog, my Instagram, and my podcast is for educational purposes and should not be taken as personal medical advice. These platforms are to educate and should not replace the medical judgment of a licensed healthcare provider who is evaluating a patient.

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