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Pointers to help your kids take pills

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Sick kids will often pass on taking a pill, even if it might make them feel better. But there are a few tricks to that parents can use to help the medicine go down. Dr. Deb Lonzer, a pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children's, says there is really no right way to do it, but you can start by simply showing them how it's done.

"So, if you swallow something and show them exactly how you get it down your throat with some chin positioning, sometimes tilting to the side so it goes around the teeth, sometimes going straight back so it goes down your tongue, tell them your tongue is a waterslide and it shoots down," she said.

Pills can be hard for kids to swallow, or just taste bad. A recent study in the journal Pediatrics found masking the taste with a flavored throat spray can help, in some cases.

Another approach can be to practice with smaller pieces of candy and work up to the regular-sized tablets.  Children can also be taught to sit up straight, place the pill on their tongue, and swallow with water.

Lonzer says you can also put the whole pill in ice cream, but avoid crushing the pill when you put it into food.

"Pills are put together so that they break down in a particular way in the stomach. If you crush it, you can get the whole dose at once, and then nothing later, so you're ruining the half-life, you're ruining the ability of the pill to actually be effective for the child," Lonzer explained.

Lonzer says if your child eats a popsicle before taking a pill, the cold will numb their taste buds.  She says you can also have your child chase the pill with a little chocolate syrup to mask the taste of the medicine.