Ease the process of giving eye drops to young children with practical tips and a step-by-step guide.
Are you a parent struggling to give your little one eye drops, like atropine or allergy eye drops? If so, you're not alone; many parents face this challenge, especially when it's their child's first time. Take a breath; we've got some tips and tricks that will make it easier. In this article, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of giving eye drops to your young child or little one, share some alternative methods for anxious little ones, and provide useful tips to make the whole experience more comfortable and stressful.
Steps on how to administer eye drops to young children:
Step 1: Get prepared
Before you start, ensure to wash your hands thoroughly and clean your child's face. Remove the cap of the eye drop medication, but be cautious not to touch the dropper tip. Touching it can transfer bacteria from your fingers to the medication, potentially contaminating it.
Step 2: Place the drops into the eye
Here comes the real challenge: putting the drops into your little one's eye. To make it easier, ask your child to tilt their head back slightly and look up. You can even place a picture of their favorite cartoon character on the ceiling to give them something to focus on. Use one hand to pull their lower eyelid down, creating a pocket to catch the drop. If your child has long eyelashes, make sure to gently press on them when pulling down the eyelid. Ensure that the bottle doesn't touch your child's eye or eyelid to avoid any potential contamination. Squeeze the bottle gently, letting the eye drop fall into the pocket.
Step 3: Optimizing eye drop absorption
After applying the eye drops, gently apply pressure to your little one's tear ducts, where the eyelid meets the nose. This helps the drop be absorbed by the eye. If any drops leak out, use a tissue to wipe them away. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with the other eye to ensure both eyes receive the necessary treatment.
Young children too anxious about eye drops
If your little one is too anxious and won't keep their eyes open, you can try a different approach. Ask them to lean their head back as far as they're comfortable with, or have them lie down on a bed or couch. Keep their eyes closed, and hold the eye drop bottle with your thumb and first two fingers. Place an eye drop in the corner of their eye, as close to the nose as possible. With their head still tilted back, ask them to open their eyes and blink several times until the drop rolls into their eye. Keep an eye on the volume to make sure your little one gets the right amount of eye drops.
What to do when multiple medications are needed
If your little one needs more than one type of eye drop, especially when having other medications, wait 3 to 5 minutes between applying different kinds of medication.
Tips for administering eye drops to young children:
Bribery: Start with a small reward, like the promise of hot cocoa or chocolate cake, to encourage your little one's cooperation.
Honesty: Be honest with your little ones about what to expect from the eye drops, for example, if the eye drops may sting for the first few times. And let them know why it's essential to use.
Work in a team: Have one person keep the little one occupied while the other administers the drops. Teamwork can make the process smoother.
Act relaxed: Younger children often mirror your cues and can read your body language, so staying calm can help put them at ease.
Show and tell: If your little one is somewhat cooperative but still nervous, demonstrate the process on a stuffed toy or yourself using saline or artificial tears.
For closed eyes: If your little one doesn't open their eyes, have them lie down flat and put a drop in the inner corner of the eye. Then, ask them to open their eyes and blink a few times.
During sleep: For sound sleepers, consider applying the drops gently during a nap or at night.
Giving your young child or little one eye drops doesn't have to be a challenging task. With patience, preparation, and a few clever strategies, you can make the process smoother for both you and your child. So, remember these tips, and soon, it will be a piece of cake!
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