10 Medicine Chest Must-Haves for Your Baby

When I first became a mommy I quickly learned what I can’t have around the house.  These things were too dangerous or too poisonous.  But what about all of the things you need to have for your kids?  Our blog does a pretty great job sharing with you things that will make your mommy life easier, more fun, cuter, and healthier.  Today we are sharing with you 10 medicine chest must-haves for your baby.  This article was written by Dr. Laura Nathanson, author of The Portable Pediatrician. 
(I didn’t receive any product or compensation for this.  I just thought it was helpful information that you all would love to know.)

Emergency Preparedness "ready to go" kit.

1. Printout of CPR and choking instructions for the age of the baby. (You probably will never need it, but you’ll know where it is.)

2. A digital rectal thermometer for babies three months old and younger. This is the age that it is really important to determine the exact temperature. That’s because in such young babies, fever can be the first and only sign of a serious infection. A temperature of 100.4 degrees rectal or higher should prompt an immediate phone call to your Pediatric Office.

3. A digital thermometer that can measure temperature in armpit or mouth for anybody over three months old. Never use this one in anybody’s rectum, and never use the rectal thermometer in anyone’s mouth or even armpit (!).

4. Alcohol swabs to clean thermometers before and after each use.

5. Pedialyte® unflavored liquid, an oral rehydration liquid that is safe and effective for babies, children, adults, and dogs for uncomplicated diarrhea. The powdered form and popsicles should not be given to those under a year of age.

6. Some form of suction to remove mucous from a baby having real problems nose-breathing. Avoid any suction device powered by a machine. Before you trust any advertiser’s statement that a brand really is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, check that — www.aap.org. As far as I can find, they recommend only the blue rubber bulb that the hospital of birth usually gives you to take home.

7. Saline solution nose drops to loosen mucous before suctioning. Don’t use any medicated drops (Afrin, Neosynephrine) unless your pediatrician has advised you to do so for this child with this illness. If you make your own, make each batch fresh. Remember that once the dropper has touched the inside of the nose, or a random booger, it is contaminated; don’t put it back in the solution container.

8. Vaseline — that is, the pure petroleum jelly. Many many external uses: keeping a circumcised baby from rubbing the site against the diaper (hurts, may cause bleeding); easing the passage of a rectal thermometer, as a solvent for cleaning almost any product (poop, oatmeal, peanut butter) off baby skin, harmless to eyes, ears, nose, lips.

9. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen liquid, but NOT the drops. If you have liquid and drops, it is easy to get confused or miscommunicate a tiny dosage. If you’re going to get confused, having the liquid on hand is safer because it is more dilute.

10. A bright flashlight, a magnifying glass, and grasping tweezers. You may never need these, but if you do, you’ll be glad you have them. (Splinters, pinworms, foreign body in ear, nose, vagina, strange object in poop (Something Cherub found and tasted and swallowed.)

BONUS: Available, but not necessarily in the medicine chest: a camera to take a photo of a rash, wound, spider, insect, or other worrisome entity, or a video of medically worrisome behavior. Many rashes and behaviors disappear on the way to the pediatric office and trying to describe them rarely works.


  • Prescription medicine for someone other than the child.
  • Aspirin (salicylic acid), even if it is labeled Low Dose, Children’s, or Baby aspirin.
  • Syrup of Ipecac (Formerly recommended to induce vomiting) but now recognized as being dangerous in itself. Post the number for Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222
  • Cold and cough over the counter remedies. In this age group, even the pediatric versions are likely to have side effects that make things worse.

© 2014 Dr. Laura Nathanson, author of The Portable Pediatrician

Author Bio
Dr. Laura Nathanson is the author of The Portable Pediatrician, as well as several other books. She has practiced pediatrics for more than thirty years, is board certified in pediatrics and peri-neonatology, and has been consistently listed in The Best Doctors in America. For more information please visit http://www.theportablepediatrician.com, and follow the author on Facebook


Crissa is a SAHM who loves working out, shopping, and watching reality TV shows. click here to find out more about our team.

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