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The ABCD's of taking meds at school

Sending a child to school requires planning. There are lunches to pack, clothes to buy and homework to oversee. In some cases, there are medical needs to plan for as well.

Often, kids who need medical care at school have a chronic condition, such as asthma or diabetes. But sometimes kids simply need help taking a medication, such as antibiotics, for a shorter period of time. In either case, school personnel should know and should help if needed.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Emergency Physicians offer these ABCDs for helping kids cope with a medical condition at school.

Ask for a meeting at the school to discuss a care plan for your child. The meeting should include you, your child (if you think he or she is old enough), school health staff, the coordinator of special needs services, the child's primary teacher and, if possible, the child's healthcare provider. If your child's healthcare provider can't attend the meeting, ask for written information on your child's condition and medical needs.

During the meeting, ask if there are any special rules or restrictions about taking medicines at school.

Bring information to the school that will be needed to develop your child's care plan. This information should include:

  • A brief medical history.
  • A description of the child's special needs, as well as possible problems and special precautions that need to be taken.
  • A list of medicines or other assistance your child requires during the school day. When you bring the medicines, you'll need to provide an adequate supply of pharmacy-labeled containers.
  • The name and phone number of your child's healthcare provider.
  • Emergency contact information.

Let the school know right away if anything changes.

Cultivate support. The more informed school staff members are about your child's condition, the better prepared they will be to help. Otherwise, they may make incorrect assumptions about the child's behavior or performance.

Develop an emergency plan with your child's doctor, in writing, that lets the school know exactly what to do for your child's potential health needs. Provide the school with a consent-to-treat form. The form gives caregivers permission to authorize treatment for medical problems when the child is in the care of someone other than the parents. If the child goes to the hospital, the form should go with them.

For more information on keeping your child healthy at school, visit the School Health topic center.

reviewed 8/26/2019

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