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Reporting a Medication Error

Learn to Swallow Pills

Published May 25, 2014 (revised October 13, 2023)

It may be easier than you think to teach children how to take a tablet/capsule. If a child can swallow chunky textured food like oatmeal or chunky applesauce without gagging or choking, and can swallow mouthfuls of water, he or she can usually learn to swallow a tablet/capsule. While a toddler is too young to learn to swallow tablet/capsule, a 6- or 7-year-old child should be ready to learn — some even sooner.

There are several resources available in teaching children this skill. One was developed by Dr. Bonnie Kaplan of the University of Calgary. This method provides videos to support training sessions that focus on head positions when swallowing a tablet/capsule. To learn more about this program, click here.

Another resource available has been released by John Hopkins All Children's Hospital. Use this link to view a video offering parents skills to help their child learn to swallow a tablet/capsule.

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