Health Manager Orientation Guide

Medication Administration Considerations for Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

Most medication administration procedures will be applied program-wide; however, some medications may be more common for younger infants and toddlers (e.g., diaper creams), and some medication administration practices may be different based on a child’s age and developmental level.

Tips and Strategies Related to Medication Administration for Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers


  • Support the infant’s head and rock gently to soothe.
  • Hold the baby semi-upright.
  • Use an infant seat if convenient or if you need both hands to administer the medication.
  • Keep the infant’s arms and hands away from the face.
  • Gently press the chin to open the mouth.
  • Using a syringe or dropper with the measured dose already prepared:
    • Position the device inside the infant’s mouth, on the side along the gums.
    • Squirt slowly to allow time to swallow.
  • Special dosing nipples work well when the baby is hungry.
  • Give oral medication before feeding unless instructed not to.
  • Rock the baby gently to soothe and return the child to play.


  • Give toddlers some control, such as a choice between sitting or standing.
  • Be honest if the medication has a bad taste and allow the child to take a drink after.
  • Use age-appropriate language to explain what you are doing.
  • Keep up the attitude that you expect cooperation, and that the child does not have a choice in taking the medication.
  • Thank the child for cooperation and give praise.


  • Give an age-appropriate explanation for why the medication must be taken and why it will help the child get better.
  • Use the opportunity to teach about time, body parts, health, or illness.
  • Involving the child in the process helps prepare them to take their own medication as they get older.
  • Reading books about medication with the child may be helpful.
  • Older children may have more need for privacy.