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Over Medicating Children

By: Alex Villarreal Email
By: Alex Villarreal Email

With legislators considering making it a criminal offense to administer medication to kids without parental permission, tonight we take a look at how even parents are making mistakes.

In a society where a quick fix is commonplace, that mentality can carry over to medicating our children

There is a rule of thumb when it comes to giving medicine to children.

KBTX medical contributor, Dr. Alan Xenakis, said, "You don't give medication before six months unless under the supervision of a doc."

Like in the case of 3 1/2 month old baby Nathan who died while at a Bryan daycare facility.

"When we got the autopsy report back we found that there was diphenhydramine in his toxicology report, which is more commonly known as Benadryl," said Nathan's father, Brad King.

Dr. X said, "You've got these virgin organs that aren't used to seeing the medication and can react in a very adverse way."

Its something that's happening all too often.

"Between 800,000 and 1 million children each year are abused and of that, 15% are because they're over medicated," said Dr. X. "They give them Benadryl or Tylenol PM as a way to get them to sleep...not a great idea."

Parents and doctors are trying to spread awareness about over medicating children.

"What may have been common practice 15 years ago, is not okay," added Nathan's mother, Laura King.

Most parents feel medicine is the right way to go, but that's not always the case.

Dr. X said, "You have to be very careful when you're giving medication to a child that first of all, you follow directions on the back of the medication and when in doubt, leave it out."

Because more isn't always better.

"The dispensing cup that comes with the medication, and there's a mark that says fill half way or fill three-quarters full, I'm going to add more, it's going to work better because my son's really coughing," said Dr. X. "If I have a child that is all congested, I'm going to try air misting first, humidify the air before I give them an antihistamine that's going to have all kinds of side effects."

When you're not sure what you're treating, doctors say natural remedies need to come first.

Dr. X says there is not one family in Texas not guilty of over medicating their children.


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