When Your Toddler Spits Out Medicine: Should You Give More?

Giving medicine to a toddler can be a challenging task for any parent. It’s not uncommon for a toddler to spit out the medicine, making it difficult to determine whether or not they received the correct dosage. Many parents may wonder if they should give their child more medicine if they spit it out. The answer is not always straightforward and may depend on the type of medicine, the child’s age and weight, and the specific instructions from a doctor or pharmacist.

Liquid medicines are often the most difficult to administer to a toddler, as they can easily spit it out or vomit immediately after taking it. In some cases, a child may refuse to take the medicine altogether due to the taste or texture. Parents may try different tricks, such as hiding the medicine in food or using a dropper or syringe to deposit the medicine between the child’s cheek and gum, to make it easier for the child to swallow. However, it’s important to follow medication safety guidelines and ensure that the child receives the correct dose of the active ingredient.

If a toddler spits out medicine, parents should consult with their pediatrician or pharmacist to determine the best course of action. In some cases, it may be safe to give the child another dose if they spit it out immediately, while in other cases, it may be best to wait until the next scheduled dose. It’s important to keep in mind that some medications, such as antibiotics or aspirin, can have serious side effects if given in the incorrect dosage or frequency. Overall, it’s crucial to follow the doctor’s instructions and pay close attention to the child’s symptoms and reactions to the medication.

Reasons why toddlers spit out medicine

Toddlers can be fussy when it comes to taking medicine. They may spit it out or refuse to swallow it, making it difficult for parents to administer the medication. There are several reasons why toddlers spit out medicine. Understanding these reasons can help parents find ways to make the process easier and less stressful.

Taste and texture

One of the most common reasons why toddlers spit out medicine is the taste and texture. Liquid medicine can have a bitter taste, making it unpleasant for toddlers to swallow. Some medications may also have a gritty texture, which can be uncomfortable for toddlers. In such cases, parents can try mixing the medication with a small amount of juice or food to mask the taste and texture.

Fear and anxiety

Toddlers can experience fear and anxiety when it comes to taking medicine. They may associate the medication with discomfort or pain, making them reluctant to take it. In such cases, parents can try explaining to the child why the medication is necessary and reassure them that it will help them feel better.

Feeling sick

Toddlers may also spit out medicine if they are feeling sick. They may have a terrible cough or sore throat, making it difficult for them to swallow. In such cases, parents can try administering the medication using a dropper or syringe, aiming it towards the cheek or tongue to prevent gagging.


Toddlers may not understand why they need to take medicine, making them resistant to it. Parents can try explaining the reason for the medication in a way that the child can understand. They can also use positive reinforcement, such as stickers or small rewards, to encourage the child to take the medication.

In conclusion, there are several reasons why toddlers spit out medicine. Parents can try different techniques to make the process easier, such as mixing the medication with food or using a dropper or syringe. It is important to remember that medication is necessary for the child’s health and well-being, and finding ways to administer it can help prevent further complications.

What to do when a toddler spits out medicine

When a toddler spits out medicine, it can be frustrating and concerning for parents. However, there are several things you can do to ensure your child gets the medication they need. Here are some tips to help you handle the situation:

Check the dosage

Before giving your child any medication, make sure you are giving them the correct dose. Check the label on the medicine bottle to ensure you are giving the right amount. If you are unsure about the dosage, consult with your pediatrician.

Try a different form or flavor

If your child is spitting out liquid medicine, try a different form or flavor. Some medications come in chewable tablets or suppositories, which might be easier for your child to take. Alternatively, you can ask your pharmacist to add a flavor to the medication to make it more palatable.

Use a syringe or dropper

When administering liquid medicine, use a syringe or dropper instead of a cup. This will make it easier to ensure your child gets the correct dose. Aim the syringe or dropper towards the back of your child’s cheek to make it less likely for them to spit it out. You can also use a plastic syringe or measuring device to make dosing easier.

Mix with food or drink

If your child hates the taste of the medication, try mixing it with a small amount of food or drink. You can mix it with chocolate syrup, a small bowl of applesauce, or their favorite juice. Make sure to check with your pediatrician first to ensure the medication can be taken with food or drink.

Ask for help

If your child is still spitting out medicine, ask for help from your pediatrician or pharmacist. They might have additional tricks or suggestions for administering the medication. Additionally, they can help ensure you are giving your child the correct dosage and that the medication is safe for your child.

Remember to always follow medication safety guidelines when administering medication to your child. If your child has a reaction or vomits immediately after taking medication, contact your pediatrician right away. Keep the medication out of reach of children and follow dosing instructions carefully. With patience and persistence, you can help your child get the medication they need to feel better.

When to Contact a Doctor or Pharmacist

If your toddler spits out medicine, you may be wondering if it is safe to give them another dose. While it can be frustrating to see your child refuse medication, it is important to follow proper protocol to ensure their safety.

Here are some guidelines to follow if your child spits out medicine:

  • If your child spits out medicine, do not give another dose without consulting your child’s doctor or pharmacist.
  • If your child vomits after taking medicine, do not give another dose without consulting your child’s doctor or pharmacist.
  • If your child is not getting better or gets worse while taking the medicine, talk to your child’s doctor immediately.
  • If you notice any side effects or allergic reactions after giving your child a dose of medicine, contact your child’s doctor or pharmacist right away.

It is important to note that giving your child too much medicine can be dangerous and even life-threatening. Overdosing can cause serious harm, so it is crucial to follow the correct dosage as prescribed by your child’s doctor.

If you are unsure about how to administer medication to your child, or if you have any concerns about your child’s symptoms or reactions, do not hesitate to contact your child’s doctor or pharmacist for guidance. They can provide you with the necessary information and support to ensure your child’s safety and well-being.

Prevention Tips

When it comes to giving medicine to toddlers, prevention is key. Here are some tips to make the process smoother and less stressful for both you and your child.

Create a positive association with medicine

One way to prevent your child from spitting out medicine is to create a positive association with it. Explain to your child that medicine can help them feel better and that it is a good thing to take it when they need it. You can also try giving your child a small reward, such as a sticker or a piece of candy, after they take their medicine.

Use the right tools

Using the right tools can also make a big difference. A medicine dropper or syringe can be more effective than a spoon, as it allows you to aim the medication towards the back of your child’s cheek, making them less likely to spit it out. Additionally, using a flavor that your child likes can make the medicine more palatable.

Be patient and calm

It’s important to stay calm and patient when giving medicine to your child. If your child senses that you are stressed or frustrated, they may become anxious and less willing to take their medicine. Try to make it a fun experience by singing a song or doing a little dance together before and after giving the medicine.

Don’t force it

Forcing your child to take medicine can create a negative association with it and make them more resistant to taking it in the future. If your child refuses to take their medicine, try offering it again in a few minutes or with a meal or snack. You can also try different delivery methods, such as chewable tablets or suppositories, if appropriate and recommended by your pediatrician.

Remember to always follow the dosing guidelines and never give your child more than the recommended dose. If your child continues to refuse or spit out their medicine, talk to your pediatrician to see if there are alternative options or if there may be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. With patience, persistence, and the right tools, you can help your child take their medicine safely and effectively.

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About the author
Daisy is a writer, mom, and expert on all things toddler-related. As a parent of three young children, she's experienced the highs and lows of parenthood firsthand, and she's passionate about sharing her insights with others. Through her website, The Toddler Life, Daisy offers practical advice and tips on everything from potty training to picky eaters. She's not afraid to get real about the challenges of parenting, and her honest and relatable writing style has earned her a loyal following of readers.

When Your Toddler Spits Out Medicine: Should You Give More?

When Your Toddler Spits Out Medicine: Should You Give More?