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Administering Medication at Child Care or School

If your child requires medication while at child care or school, keep in mind the following:

  • Ask your pharmacist to divide your child’s medication into 2 bottles, each with its own label so that one can be kept at home and one can be kept (if allowed) at the child care facility and or school.
  • A copy of the child care facility’s medication administration policy should be given to you at enrollment.  Make sure you keep this policy for reference.
  • All medication should be handed adult to adult.  Do not allow children to carry medication unless they are older and mature enough to handle this responsibility.
  • All prescription and nonprescription medication (including vitamins) given in child care or school settings require a written authorization from your child’s doctor, as well as parent written consent. This is a child care licensing requirement. Ask your child’s center or school for the medication administration forms they use.
  • The instructions from your child’s doctor must include information regarding the medication, reason for the medication, the specific time of administration and the length of time the medication needs to be given. All medication must be brought in the original labeled container.
  • Child care and school staff involved in medication administration receives special training and are supervised by a nurse or other health care consultant.
  • Child care and school staff is not authorized to determine when an “as needed” medication is to be given. Specific instructions are necessary. For children with chronic health conditions, this can be determined in collaboration with the consulting nurse.
  • Unused medications should be returned to the parent/guardian for disposal. In the event medication cannot be returned to the parent or guardian, it should be disposed of according to the recommendations of the US Food and Drug Administration. Click here for information about the proper ways to dispose of unused medications. 

Field Trip Considerations:

  • Ask if your child’s doctor if his medication can be taken at an alternate time
  • Determine if it is logistically feasible for your child’s medication to be transported, stored, and given.
Last Updated
Adapted from Curriculum for Medication Administration in Early Education and Child Care Settings (Copyright © American Academy of Pediatrics 2012)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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