Medicine Safety Tips

Medication Safety Tips When Your Child Is at School

Children may need medicine to treat an acute illness, such as an infection, or a chronic medical condition (e.g., diabetes, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [ADHD]). So, there may be times when someone else must give your child their medicine. During school hours, a school nurse or sometimes a teacher will give the medicine to your child. No matter where medicines are taken or administered there is always a possibility of a mistake happening. This means even when your child is in school, there is a potential for an error to occur. There are steps parents or caregivers can take to reduce the risk of error and protect your child.

Preventing Errors When Your Child Needs Medicine at School!

Educate yourself. Know the most common types of mistakes that occur when students are given medicines during school hours. Below is a description of what these are:

Did you know?

The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) advocates for every school to have an emergency plan in place in the event of an opioid-related overdose on school grounds. Even if you don’t think this will ever happen to your child, ask your school what their policy is for a suspected opioid overdose in a school setting. Is Narcan (naloxone) available in your school building and who will be trained to administer it. Also, be certain to ask what additional procedures will be in place if Narcan (naloxone) is administered.

Speak with your doctor first. Ask your child’s doctor if there are ways to avoid taking doses during the school day. Some medicines have a long-acting form that can be taken before and/or after school, so the medicine does not have to be given while your child is at school.

Ask questions. Before you send your child to school with medicine, be sure to have important safety information. Ask the school for a copy of their policy for administering medicines. Use the list below to help guide you on what questions to ask:

Preparing your child. No matter how young, your school-aged child can be taught how to detect an error. Here are some steps on how to prepare your child when they need to take medicine at school:

Bringing medicines to the school. While every school will have its own unique policy, below are recommendations to follow when sending your child to school with any medicine.

Follow up.  Communicate often with the school nurse (or individual responsible for administering medicines at the school).


1. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).Administering medication at school: tips for parents. AAP Council on School Health. 2016.