Bendy straws help the medicine go down

Heather (aka hedra, creator of the no-sew Halloween costume and other hacks) sent along this most-excellent tip, just in time for sickie season:

My almost-2-year-old twin daughters are at the 'ME DO IT!' stage, in a big way. They're also newly in preschool, and are bringing home the expected colds, and that means sometimes progressing to ear infections.

This means the dreaded 'forcing of the pink medicines' upon two screaming 25-lb octopuses. They want to do it themselves. Medicine droppers get grabbed and squirted, so they're out. And those medicine spoons spill (especially when one of the girls tries to drink it with the spoon part 'up' instead of 'down' – so much for 'do it herself'). ARGH!

My solution – add a straw! This was my solution with our younger son (almost 5), who dislikes the taste/texture of the medicine he has to take daily, even mixed with juice. With the bendy straw, he can put the end well back on the side of his mouth, and so doesn't have to taste it as much.

With the pink medicine (antibiotic), I put the right amount in the medicine spoon (one of the ones that measures the amount in the handle), and then just pop in a straw. They get the fun of being allowed to 'slurp' at the bottom, and they get the fun of 'doing it MYSELF', and while I still have to eyeball them to keep them from tipping the spoon up, we've had minimal spills (drips only). With the slurping, there's even less dose loss than when I fight the octopi into submission. Bonus, no need to dive to wipe off a sticky pink mustache before they get it on their clothes.


  1. Duane says

    I’m quite surprised that my 2yr old claims to like the pink stuff. She sucks it right out of the dropper as if it was a straw, and then says “All gone pink medicine. More?”

    However I do still get drops that run off the dropper and can cause a mess. I’ll have to give the straw thing a shot!

  2. hedra says

    Just popping in to add a note – narrow straws take less slurping at the bottom to do a full dose than fat straws. So if you have a choice (or hate the slurping), pick a narrower straw. :)

  3. SJK says

    My 18 month old loves the pink stuff too. Luckily we’ve only had to give it to him once. He also loves Motrin, but hates Tyelenol.

    As far as dosing, I find that the syringe type dosers are better than the dropper type. It seems harder to get all the liquid out of the dropper.

  4. Chaya says

    That sounds like a great idea. I also love medicine syringes, which our pharmacy gives us. So easy, none spills until you push the top down (i.e. as you’re wrestling a kid you don’t need to worry about it spilling), and my 3 year old can take it, depress the plunger into her mouth, and done.

  5. momma2mingbu says

    OMG….what a great idea!
    My 7.5 year old does a decent job of taking those “thin strips” that melt on the tongue but my 5.5 year old fights any kind of medicine. I will definatly use this hack next time she is sick!

  6. Stephanie says


    I’ve been fortunate so far in that both my kids are great about taking medicine on the rare occasion it’s needed, but always great to get new ideas in case of trouble.

  7. Jill says

    Now, can we get drug manufacturers to leave out the dye so we don’t have so many pairs of stained jammies?

    I discovered that my kids treat chewable pills like Tylonal like sweet tarts. No more forcing of sticky liquids for that med at least.

  8. Deb says

    Help! I need more ideas, we just tried the straw thibng last night to no avail. Our 17 month old is just too smart for our tricks.

    Anybody else have some wild ideas to get my boy to take cough syrup?

  9. hedra says

    With something they think is truly foul, there’s not much more than forcing it on them I can think of. Bad/icky, you can get by. AWFUL… nope.

    Have you tried the thin-strip type cough meds? If you can get it into their mouth, then you’re done. Hard to spit out.

    Many mfgrs are trying to add dye-free lines, so while it takes some time to get to market, you can at least look forward to more options down the line… (Even prescription meds).

  10. bree says

    I bet one of those twisty fun straws would be appealing too. Half the fun with those is watching the liquid get sucked up around the curves, and they come in fun colours.