1/30/02 - 10 Things Every Parent Should Have in the Medicine Cabinet

Your medicine chest is probably packed with a bunch of stuff you don't even use, but if you have small children at home, it may not be everything you need. There are 10 things you can stock up on to save your little one from some big problems.

Dr. Paul Caruso, a pediatric hospitalist at Southeast Hospital says, "Most people don't think to get these medicines or these things until you need them, and some of these things you need immediately." They're things that Lisa Seabaugh uses almost everyday. As the mother of two small children, she uses a lot of different medicines. Between 3-year-old Dayton, and 7-month-old Elisabeth, someone is almost always sick. Seabaugh says, "The diaper rash for her especially, it seems like they're always getting colds and coughs. We go through the Dimetapp and the Robitussin quite frequently."

Just a few of the things that are medicine chest must haves. Number one on the list is diaper rash ointment. Number two is pain relievers, liquid for young children, and tablets for older children. Number three is an electrolyte solution, such as Pedialyte to restore fluids if you're child is sick. Number four, have antihistamines on hand in case your child as an allergic reaction. Children may not like number five, but every parent needs to have a suction bulb to help get rid of their little one's stopped up noses. Number six is a cool mist humidifier. A humidifier will make it easier for children to breathe. Number seven is thermometers. Number eight is bandages and antibiotic creams to fix scars from all those tumbles and falls. Number nine on the list is something parents often overlook, syrup of ipecac. It helps a child get sick if they've swallowed anything poisonous, but it's something that should not be used unless you call a doctor first. That ties in with number ten, which is emergency phone numbers that should be hung up on medicine cabinet walls.

Parents should also be aware of all the expiration dates on medications. Most medicines lose their potency after they expire, and your child won't be getting the medicine's full effect if you give it to them.