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You can be prepared for common childhood symptoms and problems. Start by making a Kid Care Kit of health care supplies. When buying and giving medication, remember there are alternatives for symptom relief. Most symptoms go away without medication. Teach your child not to expect a medication to be the answer.
Keeping basic health care items on hand saves you time, money, and worry. Many medications, even nonprescription ones, have side effects. Learn what the side effects of your medications are. And always store medications out of the reach of children. Make sure your Kid Care Kit contains the supplies listed below.
Thermometer. Do not use a glass thermometer that contains mercury. They can be dangerous if the glass breaks and the mercury spills out. A digital thermometer is a good alternative. The way you use it will depend on your child's age. Ask your child's doctor for more information about how to use a thermometer on your child. General guidelines are:
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that, for safety, you measure the temperatures of babies 90 days old and younger under the armpit. However, if the armpit temperature is above 99°F (37.2°C), you must also take a rectal temperature. Rectal temperatures are more accurate. Since a doctor must immediately evaluate your infant if he or she has a fever, accuracy is very important.
For toddlers, take an axillary (under the armpit) or rectal temperature.
For children old enough to hold a thermometer in their mouth (usually around age 5 years), take an oral temperature (in the mouth).
You may use an ear thermometer (also called a tympanic membrane thermometer) or a temporal artery (forehead) thermometer for children ages 6 months and older.
Acetaminophen (for fever, pain, or swelling)
Ibuprofen (Talk to your health care provider before giving ibuprofen to children under age 1 year.)
Decongestant (Talk to your health care provider before giving; doctors typically do not recommend decongestants for children under age 4.)
Antihistamine (Talk to your health care provider before giving; doctors typically do not recommend decongestants for children under age 4.)
Insect repellent (to protect against insects and ticks)
Note: Aspirin is no longer used to treat children and teenagers. This includes children with chickenpox or flu. It may increase the risk for Reye's syndrome, a disease that damages the brain and liver and may cause death.