Today’s Hint: How to Keep Track of Medicine Doses

When my daughter recently had a very high fever, her doctor recommended that we alternate giving her Children’s Tylenol and Children’s Advil. With this strategy, we could give her fever reducing and painkilling medicine every three hours, rather than just every six or every eight.

However, while I tried my best to remember to jot down in a notebook what medicine I had given her when, both my husband and I were sleep deprived and stressed out with worry. So, I’m embarrassed to admit, I messed up the alternating and gave my daughter consecutive Advil doses at least two times.

To help prevent this from happening again, and to help save other parents from making similar mistakes, I checked in with the always helpful Nurse Judy, the advice nurse at my daughter’s pediatrician’s office, and today’s hint is her clever dosage documentation tip.

Nurse Judy, who has helpful information about dosages on her blog, frequently gets questions from parents who gave double doses. “I can’t tell you how often I get that call,” she says.

Here’s the technique she recommends for keeping better track of doses: Put a strip of masking tape directly on the medicine bottle, and mark the date and time of the dose right on the bottle (and only have one bottle of each type of medicine open – and being marked up — at a time). This approach, she says, “prevents parents from double dosing.”

To be sure, Nurse Judy isn’t the only advocate of writing right on the medicine bottle. Back in 2007, Parent Hacks advocated the approach as a way to keep track of antibiotic-type medicine doses, and the couple blogging at Baby Toolkit wrote about how they keep a dose log on a mailing label, post-it or piece of paper they put right on the bottle. Elsewhere, Molly Thornberg at Digital Mom Blog is also a fan of a similar approach involving drawing a little chart right on the bottle.

So why write on the bottle rather than on a piece of paper? As Molly Thornberg aptly points out, “papers get lost, wet or sometimes they just vanish.”

Plus, it’s easier to remember to write down the time and dose when the bottle markings are right there as a reminder to do so.

But what if you don’t want to write on the bottle? If you store the medicine in the box it came in, like I do, then you could do the tracking right on the box instead.

Or you could try a clever strategy shared by a mom commenting on a BabyCenter message board: Keep the medicine in a high kitchen cabinet, with a small dry erase board mounted on the cabinet. Then, when you take the medicine out of the cabinet, make sure to mark down the medicine type and time of dose.

Finally, if you prefer the more high tech approach (like Heather Flett of the site Rookie Moms), as usual, there’s an app for that. The app Baby Connect, for instance, comes with a medicine tracker feature.

As for my daughter, luckily she is fine now and the double doses don’t seem to have done any permanent harm.

What are your tricks for keeping track of medicine doses?

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