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Some children in your child care facility may need to take medications during the hours you provide care for them. Before agreeing to give any medication, whether prescription or over-the-counter, you should obtain written permission from the parent. Also, check with your local child care licensing agency regarding local regulations on administering medications.


You should make sure that any prescribed medication that you give to a child:

  • Has the first and last name of the child on the container.
  • Has been prescribed by a licensed health professional. Check to see that the name and phone number of the health professional who ordered the medication is on the container.
  • Is in the original package or container.
  • Has the date the prescription was filled.
  • Has an expiration date.
  • Has specific instructions for giving, storing, and disposing of the medication.
  • Is in a child-proof container.

You may want to suggest to parents that they ask their pharmacist to divide medications into two bottles, one to be kept at home and one to be kept at the child care facility. Children will be less likely to miss a dose of their prescription due to parents forgetting to bring medications to the facility or to take them home at night.

A child's parent may ask that you give a child an over-the-counter medication, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol and other brand names). Over-the-counter medication for each child should be labeled with:

  • The child's first and last names.
  • The current date.
  • The expiration date.
  • Specific instructions for giving, storing, and disposing of the medication.
  • Name of the health care provider who recommended the medication.

If the child is under 2 years of age, check your state licensing regulations. Some states do not allow a provider to administer over-the-counter medications for children under 2 years of age.

If a child is mistakenly given another child's medication, call the poison control center immediately and follow the advice given. Then call the physician and parents of the child who mistakenly received the medication. All medications should have childproof caps and be stored out of reach of children. Medications requiring refrigeration should be clearly marked and separated from food. You may want to keep all medications in a separate, covered container marked “Medications” within the refrigerator.

All medications brought into a child care setting should have child-proof caps and be stored

  • in an orderly manner,
  • at the proper temperature,
  • away from food, and
  • out of the reach of children.

Never use medications after the expiration date. Also, do not allow parents to add medications to bottles of formula or milk brought from home. This can lead to inadvertent overdoses.

You should keep a medication record in your child care facility. The record should list:

  • The child's name.
  • The name of the medication and how and when it is to be given.
  • The parent's signature of consent.

You should also keep a log of when you give medications. Each time you give a child a medication, you should list the date, the time, the child's name, the name of the medication, and the dosage given. If more than one provider in your facility gives medicines, each provider should initial the entry, showing that she or he gave the child the medicine. A sample medication log might look like the one below.

Date Time Child’s Name Name of Medication Dose
Note: This information is not intended to take the place of your state's or locality's child care regulations and laws. In every case, the laws and regulations of the city, county, and state in which the child care facility is located must be carefully followed even if they differ from these recommendations.

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