Kid cocktail

Peds is my weakness. (One of them. That and anything to do with eyes. For different reasons.) Deep down I'm still a cardiac nurse, for grownups, and I don't have children of my own. Frankly, until I went to nursing school and was forced to interact with them, kids freaked me out a little because I wasn't used to them and couldn't successfully communicate with them (I'd be immediately foiled by the first "no!" from a 2-year-old). I like them a lot now. They're interesting creatures, and I've gotten a thousand times better at successfully assessing and treating them. But sometimes you need a little voodoo. I learned some that I feel I should pass along.

It happens often that kids appear in the ER because they're really dehydrated, for whatever reason. They're not that big, so they dry out fast. They're also not stupid and have figured out that drinking stuff makes them vomit, and they're not having any of it. No one wants to put an IV in a kid, so we try to give them oral medicine and then get them to drink, which is usually frustrating for everyone. But I learned the best cocktail EVER for tempting a kid to attempt oral intake. Here's the recipe.

  • Half of a double-header popsicle, rinsed and upended in a cup: microwave for 15 seconds. Rinsing is important to avoid freezer burn taste. Kids are very discerning about their popsicles.
  • Use the stick to break up the rest of the popsicle.
  • Add a splash of apple juice.
  • Mix. If medicines are still needed, take a medication cup to put a smaller amount of this magical concoction in to mix it with.
  • Tell the child you have a magic drink. Use the spoon like a magic wand, complete with "ta-da!"
  • Then say, "I bet you can't drink it, though."

The child will seize the cup to prove you wrong. The spoon-wave may be what makes it work. Maybe it's the splash of apple juice. I'm not sure. But you can't deviate from the routine at all.