Are there safe medicines out there to help your toddler sleep? Well, yes and no. On the one hand, there are no over the counter sleep medicines approved for children, especially babies and toddlers. Any use of medication strictly for the purpose of putting your child to sleep should be thoroughly discussed with her pediatrician first. Additionally, your pediatrician may have alternate suggestions concerning how to best help your toddler to sleep if she is having sleeping problems.
On the other hand, there are some conditions which cause toddlers a great deal of discomfort for which there are over the counter medicines. For example, you should not give your toddler acetaminophen to help him get to sleep, but if he is having pains or is running a fever, it may be appropriate to give him some children’s acetaminophen. As with any medication, it is sound parenting to discuss this with your physician before you start. Your child’s age and size both factor in to what kinds of dosages should be used, and your pediatrician can help you make those determinations.
Another condition, treatable with over the counter medicines, is gum pain from cutting teeth. Your toddler is still getting his molars and canine teeth at this age, and if you see the telltale signs of teething, you may want to consider an over the counter gum soother. Telltale signs of teething include seeing a lump in the gum area, cheek rubbing, ear pulling, and irritability, drooling, coughing and chin rash. If you’re seeing two or three of these symptoms, chances are your toddler has a tooth coming in. Make sure that the gum soother you use is made for babies and toddlers.
One over the counter medication you might want to consider in Melatonin. Melatonin is a naturally occurring body chemical that regulates sleep. Before using this or anything else to help your toddler sleep, however, consult with his pediatrician.
If you’re getting the sense that “consult her pediatrician” is a bit of a catch-all solution, you’re on the right track. Toddlers should be monitored closely when given any medicine, and your child’s doctor should be in on the decision. Your pediatrician can give you the most up to date advice based on constantly updated findings concerning what is (and isn’t) good for your toddler. So, before you start your child on any medicine, for sleep or any other purpose, it’s always good to check with her doctor.