With the beginning of the new school year ramping up, it’s an important time to consider your child’s medication at school. If your child has a prescription that needs to be taken during the day, it’s crucial to make sure that the school is fully aware of the prescription and administration needs so they can support your child appropriately.
We’ve put together five tips to help ensure that your child’s medication is being handled correctly at school:
1. If the medication comes in pill or liquid form, ask your pharmacist if they can divide your child’s medication between two bottles. This will allow you to keep one bottle at home while the other can be kept at school. Make sure that each bottle has a label that contains the prescription and administration information, timing, and dosage.
2. Medication should be delivered to the school by an adult to an adult. While your child may be old enough to carry their own medicine, you will still want to check with your child’s school to see what their policy is about handling medication. Many schools do not allow children to carry their own medication unless that child is old enough to handle the responsibility and would have an immediate need of the medication, such as an inhaler.
3. Meet with the school nurse. All school staff who are authorized to administer medication undergo special training. However, it is always helpful to have a personal conversation with the individual who will be administering your child’s medication to make them aware of any potential side effects, how your child responds to receiving the medication, and other information that would not be readily available on the prescription bottle.
4. Provide specific instructions. While some medications have specific dosages and frequencies, others are prescribed “as needed.” Authorized medicine administrators at school may not be permitted to determine what “as needed” means. If your child has a prescription that is to be given “as needed,” consider meeting with the school nurse to determine collaboratively when the medication should be administered to your child.
5. Talk with your child’s teacher. While the school administration and the nurse might be aware of your child’s condition and need for medication, their teacher may not. Meeting with your child’s teacher will allow you to communicate about signs and signals that your child might need their medication, as well as any complications that might arise after the administration of medication, such as drowsiness or decreased attentiveness. As the teacher is the primary point of contact for your child at school, it’s important to keep them in the loop about your child’s needs during the school day.
Going back to school is an exciting time of year, and worries about your child’s medication shouldn’t interfere with that excitement. We hope these five tips help you and your child have the best back-to-school experience possible while keeping your child healthy and safe.