Sending a child off to school can be unsettling for some parents, especially if your child is taking regular prescription medications. If your child is taking medication, it is important to make sure you know the following information:
- Adult to Adult: Generally, it is a good idea to establish an Adult-to-Adult policy.Your child’s medication should only be handled by adults. Unless your child is older and mature enough to handle the responsibility, provide the medication directly to an adult at the school to avoid it getting into the wrong hands or an accident happening.
- Professionalism: School staff that are involved in the handling and administration of medication should receive training and be supervised.
- Two Bottles: It can be unsafe to move medicine into unmarked containers. Request that your pharmacist divides your child’s medication into two medicine bottles – each with a detailed label. One of these bottles can be left at the school while the other stays at home.
- Specific Instructions: For medications that are to be given on an “as needed” basis, it is important to be very specific with school staff about what constitutes a situation where the medication is needed and what does not. School staff are not authorized to make the determination of when an “as needed” medication should be provided to your child.
- Authorization: Written authorization is required from both you and your child’s doctor for all prescription medications as well as nonprescription medications (this includes vitamins) that are given in a school setting. Ask your child’s school for the authorization forms they use.
- Unused Medications: Your child’s school should return any unused medications to you. If it cannot be returned, the school should dispose of it in accordance with the recommendations of the United States Food and Drug Administration.
Field Trip Considerations:
- Ask your child’s doctor if his medication can be taken at an alternate time
- Determine if it is logistically feasible for your child’s medication to be transported, stored, and given.
By planning ahead, speaking to your child’s doctor, and coordinating with your child’s school you can feel safe and secure that your child’s medication is being properly handled and that your child is safe while at school.