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Medications > How to use a medication syringe

How to use a medication syringe

Oral syringes are used to measure liquid medications. One side of the syringe is marked in teaspoons (tsp). The other side is marked in milliliters (ml).

Drawing the medicine into the oral syringe:

  • Wash your hands well.
  • If your medication has a lid that you can use to insert the syringe and draw from it, be sure it is tightly in place and invert the bottle so the syringe is directly under the bottle. Draw a bit more than the amount needed, then push back any extra to remove air bubbles.
  • If your bottle does not have a syringe tip, pour some medicine into a small, clean cup. Put the tip of the syringe into the medicine. Pull the plunger back to bring the medicine into the syringe. Draw back the medicine to the correct mark (the amount of medicine needed). Make sure there are no large air bubbles in the syringe. If there are air bubbles, remove the syringe from the cup. Put the syringe straight up, pull down on the plunger to draw even more air in. Then, carefully push the plunger up until there is no more air. Put any unused medicine back into the medication bottle.

Give the medicine to your child

Infants (syringe only):
  • Hold your baby the same way as when you nurse or feed him. Place the syringe tip between the baby's cheek and gum at the back of the mouth.
  • Give your baby small amounts of the medicine by slowly pushing in on the plunger.
  • Be sure to let your baby swallow the medicine before giving another squirt.
  • Do not lay your baby down until all the medicine has been swallowed.
  • If your baby has trouble swallowing the medicine from the oral syringe, you may squirt medicine from the syringe into an empty nipple.
    1. Hold your baby in his feeding position.
    2. Place an empty bottle nipple in your baby's mouth.
    3. Squirt the medicine from the oral syringe into the nipple.
    4. Allow your baby to suck the medicine from the nipple.
    5. Clean the syringe and nipple with warm water.

REMEMBER: Do not put any medicine into your child's formula or juice unless directed by your doctor.

Older children:

  • Squirt the medicine slowly into your child's mouth. Be sure your child swallows the medicine. Some older children prefer to hold the syringe themselves and suck it out, but be sure to watch to be certain they take the entire amount of medicine.

Cleaning the oral syringe

  • Take the syringe apart and wash with warm tap water after each use.
  • Do not use hot water or a dishwasher to wash the syringe. The extreme temperature may damage the syringe and make it unusable.
This page adapted from Children's Mercy Care Cards.

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